Monday, November 10, 2008

Little Monsters by Charles Lambert

I have recently read Charles Lambert's wonderful novel, Little Monsters (Picador). In sixties England, thirteen-year-old Carol's father has killed her mother and she must go to live on the bleak Derbyshire moors with her harsh pub landlady aunt. Now, in present-day Italy, she is working with asylum seekers. With great aplomb, and a commendably light tone, the novel alternates between these two time levels to unravel a deep mystery and expose a heart-rending struggle to escape the cycles of emotional damage. Personally, I'm blown away by the fact that a male writer could so well understand both the physicality and the emotional reality of being a girl, but I recommend the book too for its wonderfully restrained writing, and above all its very good story.

Charles will be appearing tomorrow on this blog in the first leg of his tour of another book, his story collection The Scent of Cinnamon, newly published by Salt.

4 comments:

john baker said...

I'm blown away by the fact that a male writer could so well understand both the physicality and the emotional reality of being a girl . . .
Without taking anything away from Charles Lambert's book (which I haven't read yet), shouldn't this understanding of the physical and emotional reality of being a girl or a boy, or anyone else, go with the territory of being a writer of fiction?

Elizabeth Baines said...

Well yes, in theory. But I have never read anything like this - about the intimate physical details of being a woman - by any man previously, or come to that, by many women. I don't think I've ever managed it myself in quite this way, and I feel quite jealous of his achievement.

john baker said...

I'll get it tomorrow.

Elizabeth Baines said...

I'll be very interested to hear what you think.