Book Review: Vlad by Carlos Fuentes
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / September 24, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: Vlad by Carlos Fuentes on Blogcritics. About: Vlad by Carlos Fuentes is a short novel taking place in Mexico City, Mexico. The story was part of the 2004 collection “Inquieta Compañía” and recently came out as its own book translated by Alejandro Branger and Ethan Shaskan Bumas. 112 pages Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; Tra edition Language: English ISBN-10: 1564787796 My rating for Vlad – 4 Buy this book in paper format from* Thoughts: Vlad by Carols Fuentes takes on an interesting premise, what if Dracula still lived and settled inMexico City. As one might expect, there is a lot of dark humor in this book, starting with the strange requests the client is making of the real estate agent (“remote”, “easy to defend”) to the client’s look which consists of a silly wig and glued on mustache. What I found to be different in this book is that the reader knows a lot more than the narrator. This style of storytelling invigorates the dark comedy and brings a sense of ominous foreboding to banal and meaningless lines said by the famous Count. In this rendition of the story, Fuentes marries vampire and lawyers – both server as vessels for…

Guest Review: The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Fiction , Guest Posts , Latest Posts / August 9, 2012

Reviewed by Ren Zelen Buy this book in paper or electronic format While Vampires and Zombies have been jamming the highway to the bookshelves and multiplexes, Werewolves have largely been left to idle by the side of the literary road. With Glen Duncan’s protagonist, Jacob Marlowe, you get more than you bargain for: not just a man but a werewolf, not just a werewolf, but an existentially philosophical one. The novel is, ostensibly, a diary. The tale begins after a ‘feed’ “Two nights ago I’d eaten a 43-year-old hedge fund specialist,” Marlowe states with what will be his trademark insouciance, “I’ve been in a phase of taking the ones no-one wants.” We learn his backstory, a 19th-century costume tragedy, by means of his journal entries, composed in breaks between violent action and meaningless fornication. Two centuries of living have endowed him with a vast reserve of cultural expertise and a linguistic style that moves between the wisecracking cynicism of his noir namesake and the syntactical flourishes of the 19th century literary gentleman. Marlowe imparts the contents of his inner life and his impressions of the modern world in a series of dryly succinct verbal morsels: the topography of Wales is…

Guest Review: Breathe : A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish
Fiction , Guest Posts , Latest Posts / April 21, 2012

‘Mommie Dearest…’ Mother-love is a complex thing. Our relationship with our mother is the most fundamental and determining relationship most of us will ever have,whether we like it or not. It can be a force for good or… not. Its repercussions may be felt throughout life and sometimes, persist even after death. Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic format. In reality we don’t always find the ‘unconditional’ devotion and support that is the idealized version of motherhood. If we dig a little deeper into the mother-child dynamic we might discover the most complicated of motivations and desires – as different in each case as the individuals involved. In Susan Hill’s popular novel ‘The Woman in Black’ we saw the vindictiveness that could be unleashed when motherhood was denied. One might also wonder what the possible conclusion of an over-protective mother-child relationship might be? Cliff McNish takes a look at obsessive mother-love in his book ‘Breathe: A Ghost Story’, and explores its more chilling consequences. After twelve-year-old Jack’s father dies suddenly, his mother Sarah moves them to an old farmhouse in the country. It’s an isolated,crumbling old place, and it has a history. Sarah hopes that by surrounding Jack with unfamiliar things he…

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