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Attend (Paperback)

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A beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel with echoes of Armistead Maupin...

`Filled with a magic that is unique and uplifting. Attend is adventurous, charming and utterly compelling' Random Things through My Letterbox

`I've fallen in love with this absolutely glorious, spell-binding tale' LoveReading

As the threads of their lives unravel ... they find magic under their feet...

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne's best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.

Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Orenda Books Publication Date: 13/12/2018 ISBN-13: 9781912374397  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Born and bred in south London - and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name - West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London's fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic's 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel. You can follow West on Twitter @west_camel

More books by West Camel

Customer Reviews

A novel of harsh reality, complex relationships and a hint of fantasy, “Attend” is a novel which draws the reader in, messes with her mind, then leaves a shock. It is the story of people with a past, sometimes difficult, sometimes tragic, and the vulnerable present that they find themselves in as they look around Deptford. This is a contemporary book, but the persistent fantasy is of someone who can look back for over a century, and does so in acts of compulsive storytelling. As characters are forced to examine themselves and what is truly going on around them they discover not only their weaknesses but also their strengths, even if that discovery comes at a high cost. It is a faithful insight into the drab loneliness of solo lives, lived on the edge of others’ preoccupations. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience this unusual book as it is first published. Anne has returned to a place she knows well, perhaps too well, as she is confronted with a family she has in some senses abandoned, amidst the buildings, pathways and places she can remember with painful clarity. It is when she is at her lowest, when the memories crowd in, that she is first confronted by the mysterious character of Deborah. Without beginning or end, she conjures up a world of mystery, remembered things, and endless sewing. Sam is a troubled young man of secrets and deceptions, as he tries to continue a world of encounters with men that leave him dissatisfied. He too lives in a drab world, challenged by the actions of others, all too aware of the dangers inherent in his lifestyle. He too meets Deborah, as he alternates saving her and being saved by her, drawn in by her fantastic stories and yet beyond puzzled the unlikely tales, he develops in courage and begins to discover what is important. The characters in this book are satisfactorily multi dimensional, as even a small baby is given a role as a challenge for Anne. Dark comedy and soap opera type emotion is combined with a literary style that lifts this book away from romantic drama, especially in those moments concerning the elusive Deborah. The subject matter, of drug use, twisted friendship and danger makes this a powerful novel, yet the presence of Deborah somehow gives it an ethereal element. Not that she always has a positive story to tell, as she recalls wartime London. As even buildings and roads seem to move with her words, Anne and Sam have to discover how to survive and live in the world. This is an impressive novel, confidently written with an eye to the visual as well as the emotional experience of the characters. A strongly written book, with powerful events and challenging conflicts, this is memorable and compelling reading. The confusing details of a mysterious life are put up against the reality of everyday life with the small touches of clothes, daily routine, as even the inaccessibility of Deborah’s home becomes familiar. This is a book which poses many questions, but is also a compelling narrative. An impressive and challenging debut, Camel’s characterisation is well developed and mature throughout this memorable book.

- 16/12/2018
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