Tuesday, 20 August 2019
Recommendation: The Finite by Kit Power
I recommend books for all kinds of reasons on here: the plot, the characterisation, the quality of the prose, the intellectual and thematic ideas underpinning the whole. (Normally, of course, if it's worth recommending it's for more than one element.) Fancy ideas which really all come down to one thing: did the book make an emotion impression on me? Will I remember scenes or dialogue or just the general feel of it? Has it, in however small a way, changed me?
I'll be remembering scenes from Kit Power's novella The Finite for a long time, I think. This one is going to linger. It's going to be hard to forget the ashy taste of it under my tongue, the gritty feel of it on my skin. It combines a real & genuine evocation of parental love with a gut-wrenching sense of absolute fucking fatalism and despair.
So look, you can read the blurb yourself, but basically The Finite is about a nuclear bomb going off and a father and daughter who survive the initial blast but have absorbed a fatal dose of radiation poison anyway. It's about their last, finite span of time together with that knowledge, and it's absolutely as devastating and soul-destroying as that sounds. (And, to repeat: it's also a book about love.)
It hardly needs to be said, this could all have gone horribly wrong. One false note, one poorly written scene or cliched character decision, and the whole thing would have become ridiculous and bathetic and easily ignored. But Power doesn't put a foot wrong, and so he succeeds in writing one of the most bleak and terrible things I've read since The Road. He succeeds in changing me in those small and awful and glorious ways that good fiction can. He succeeds into making horror into art.
And because it needs to be said a third time: this is also a story about love. And you should read it.
The Finite: Black Shuck Books