Thursday, 4 August 2016

Recommendation: Singing With All My Skin & Bone by Sunny Moraine

A few brief words of recommendation about this fantastic (in both senses) collection of short stories from Sunny Moraine. There's nineteen stories here, and they are all rich and satisfying and worth taking the time to savour. The tales in Singing With All My Skin & Bone are often in the first-person and often addressed to a "you" either inside or outside the tale. So they feel less like prose and more like the speech of someone who has to try and articulate the story of their life. Moraine’s characters are those society considers oddballs and outsiders, and their stories do not always have happy endings.

The style is an alluring combination of horror, magic realism and even science fiction. Many read like extended metaphors for our lives and how we form relationships now: the stripping back of a partner in Love In The Time Of Taxidermy; the finding of your own skull in Memento Mori; the social media suicide epidemic of Dispatches From A Hole In The World; the subterranean magic in the title tale. Sylvia Plath, I imagine, would be nodding her head in violent approval at Moraine's work.

Moraine's prose is typically lyrical and poetic, but gruesome where it needs to be too. A lot of the stories veer towards body-horror, but the body (as the collection's title alludes to) is a source of power too, a source of control over one's own fate.

And then there's Cold As The Moon which with one line (a 21st Century update of a very famous E.M. Forster quote) managed to break my heart, utterly and completely.  

A superb collection and another brilliant title from Undertow. 


Singing With All My Skin & Bone (UK | US)

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