This week’s Unsung Letter gets graphic with a Hollywood horror inspired double feature of graphic novels, presented by Ever Dundas:
Autumn is the time of year I gravitate towards comics, in large part because the comics I read are usually horror; they suit the shifting melancholy light, the smell of decay and burning wood, the early dusk. It’s been my autumn ritual to re-read the Charles Burns oeuvre ever since I first came across his work via Black Hole’s stunning art, brilliant depiction of messed up teendom, and lashings of body horror. Black Hole is Burns’ most famous, so I’m going to give a little love to one of his other comics [redacted]
Find out which graphic novels Dundas has picked here
Subscribe to The Unsung Letter here – for weekly missives of brilliant essays by writers and book lovers on underpraised works by living authors. Every week brings something new that you may not have heard of, but that might change your life (in some small literary way, or perhaps deliver a grand epiphany – why not find out?)
This week in The Unsung Letter Ryan Vance speaks on a novel of memory and a kind of unseeing:
When reading, all I experience is the printed form of words on the page in front of me, and I find it difficult to totally lose myself in fictional worlds so familiar to our own. So you can keep your meandering realism, your airport thrillers, your meticulous historical memoirs. Give me something so unlikely it sounds ridiculous, even demented, if not outright impossible. Give me something unimaginable. Because for me, literally everything is.
Read more here, and subscribe to The Unsung Letter if you have not yet – the letters are on a different book in print by a living author and by a different book lover/critic every time. You won’t want to miss a one, as each brings its own joys and unexpected emotional connections, and of course another contender for your to-be-read pile.
Despite several Booker nominations, and other awards, she doesn’t nearly get enough praise. Her most recent novel, [redacted] was a dystopian novel, a concise history of Paraguayan guitarist Agustin Barrios, and an experiment in structure and layout, and yet it feels like it’s gone under the radar somewhat. Yet she doesn’t feel like a cult novelist either (Booker nominations will do that I suppose). Her books couldn’t be more different from one another (her last three have been a romantic comedy, a (non-fictional) novel about an Indian guru, and a dystopian sci-fi), and I wonder if that has something to do with it. People don’t know what they’re going to get from her.
A mysteriously much-accoladed but oddly under-the-radar novelist gets The Unsung treatment this week by Daniel Carpenter. Check the whole thing out here, and sign up here for a weekly missive by a different writer/book lover on an underpraised work by a living author.
As sometimes happens when I am fiddling with links early in the morning, I put the wrong book in the buy-here link (though I think possibly you should buy and read that too?) so here’s where to get the book mentioned in the letter (no peeking until you’ve read that first)
This week, a book about gender upheaval, sung out by Anya Johanna DeNiro –
…a novella that shakes the rust off the machinery of post-apocalyptic contagion tropes, and brings to life something startlingly new about gender, about friendship, and most importantly the stories trans women tell each other to stay alive.
Read more here.
Now, when I was putting links into the draft to send out, the author’s website wasn’t loading, so I had to use another link (to Bookdepository) so that at least there was one option. In case you would like to support them directly (and why wouldn’t you?) you can hop over to their website and purchase the book there, handy for digital downloads (and having a pay-what-you-want arrangement. Bonus). Check it out here.
Sign up to The Unsung Letter for a weekly missive, written by a different book lover each time, singing the praises of an undersung work by a living author.
This week a bookseller brings us his favourite – a famous author’s more obscure book:
It’s a long novel and I would have been happier for it to be much longer. I don’t want to tell you too much about what happens in it, but of course [redacted] experiences a few fortunes and some dismal lows. Throughout it all though, [redacted]’s calm acceptance of a bleak and hardly tolerable world remains a constant.
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This week’s Unsung Letter is by Jonathan Gibbs, on a book with a relatable character blundering her way through the world:
So [redacted] is a comedy about a person having a breakdown, but it’s also a serious enquiry into the assumptions that drive our (most of our) ordinary lives, and about what happens if you question those assumptions, if you step off the carousel.
Read the letter here, and make sure to subscribe to the Unsung Letter for a weekly missive on an undersung book deserving of your attention, and written by a different book lover / writer / critic each time.
…is on a book which circumnavigates exhausted territories of holocaust stories to walk on other, neglected paths.
It was early 2016, and more than a million refugees were on the run from Syria and Afghanistan. I was visiting Australia to write about my father, who had been labelled an “enemy alien” and deported from Britain (along with other refugees from Nazi Germany) to an internment camp in Australia. I wanted to link the stories of Second World War refugees with present day refugees.
Zable, I discovered, had worked with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Sanctuary, and the Melbourne Refugees Studies Program. He was also the author of several acclaimed books about earlier generations of refugees in Australia. His own parents had fled Europe and found refuge in the Southern Hemisphere in the years after the war. Before a mutual friend suggested I contact him, I had never heard of him or his writing.
Read more by signing up to the weekly Unsung Letter, written by a different writer/book lover, each time praising an undersung work by a neglected living author.