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The Comedy of Errors

4 Books From Notts Authors to Read This Christmas Holiday

9 December 18 words: Write Lion

There’s no time like Crimbo to get stuck into the printed pages of a new novel or poetry collection. The turkey’s roasting, the fire’s crackling and the wine’s mulling, giving you plenty of time to curl up in your stretchy trousers and prepare yourself for a feast of literary goodness…

Nick Archer
£3.99, Independent
An epithalamium is a song or a poem, written especially for a bride. It’s also the title of a new thriller from Nick Archer. Over the course of 110 pages, and a similar number of typos, we embark on a night of trauma for a young woman and her kidnapper. Both characters make desperate attempts to preserve life over the course of a night in Notts. It’s an action-fuelled affair, with car and foot chases taking place on our city centre streets. Moral questions are posed and strangers sacrificed as the plot drives through a series of perilous predicaments, all set against a ticking clock. Epithalamium is a fast-paced, murderous tale of desperation but it would have benefited from the eye of a skilled editor. Archer could learn much from reading Jonathan Ames’ You Were Never Really Here, a book which packs the punch this one swings for and misses. Nottslit

Henry Normal
A Normal Family
£8.99, Two Roads

Henry Normal’s output continues to be prolific, bordering on the superhuman. However, he’s no superstar, and much of his appeal can be put down to the fact that he’s made a long career out of taking distinctly ordinary materials and turning them into beautiful things. A Normal Family is no different. It tells the story of the author’s autistic son, Johnny, and at times feels like an untidy assemblage of anecdotes, photographs, parenting advice, and poems. Yet the book achieves what Normal has achieved so many times before: a fine balance between humour, sadness, and universal human truth. The writing ranges from confident to uncertain, the anecdotes from hilarious to moving, the poems from simple to profound. But the focal point is always Johnny, a son who seems to be an endless source of inspiration to his father, and the dynamics and interactions brought about by Johnny’s condition. Chris Davis

The Stars Are Legion
Kameron Hurley
£8.99, Angry Robot
Birthing babies, birthing cogs, and birthing a new world. The Stars Are Legion is a sticky, visceral space opera featuring womb-swapping, gun-blasting women. It’s fascinatingly gross, and pretty damn awesome. In a mass of dying, slimily organic world-ships known as the Legion, Zan wakes up with no memory. All she knows is that she has to board the Mokshi – the only world-ship able to leave the Legion – and that she really wants to get freaky with Jayd, whose mother is a bloodthirsty warlord. Hold your breath for open space battles between two rival families, before going on a gnarly Lord of the Rings-style trek. Hurley’s all-female science fiction is about as soft and gentle as a H. R. Giger painting. Its squishy descriptions will thrill body horror fans, and the characters are in turns plucky and tragic. Highlights include a cannibal banquet and fixing a vehicle with someone’s intestine. Natalie Mills

Sending a Drunk Text Whilst Sober
Simon Widdop
£8.50, Plastic Brain Press
Titles are difficult to come up with. It can take months, even years, of feverish brainstorming to come up with a title that reflects the heart and soul of a book. Thankfully, Simon Widdop has nailed it, as Sending a Drunk Text Whilst Sober is pretty much a spot-on description of its content. Widdop’s debut collection, Drunk Text is a pop-punk smorgasbord that seeks to put the world to rights, be that through criticisms of social media, austerity politics, racism, or consumerism. There is some tenderness here too, as Widdop recounts declarations of affection to an unnamed partner through a grimy, booze-tinted haze. A pleasant, quick read for the alternatives among you, Drunk Text is a rock’n’roll love letter in line with punk poet Joolz Denby. While the ground it treads is well travelled, with its tirades against the social ills of today, it makes for an effective debut and an ideal stocking filler. LP Mills

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