Wednesday, 25 June 2008


Nicholas Hogg's debut novel Show Me The Sky (Canongate, June 2008) is fabulous. I know, because I was one of the final readers at 'last tweak' stage, and it was a very hard job to do.

Why? because I keep getting caught up in the book, and forgetting I was reading for a purpose. And yes, it is that good.

I met Nicholas in London a while back at the Willesden Herald prize anthology launch New Short Stories 1....

The novel is a serious tour de force. Which is only to be expected as Nick was the first winner of the New Writing Ventures Prize. Part thriller/whodunnit, part historical novel, structurally it is a complex beast... four sections interwoven... different times, voices, settings.

Show Me The Sky is reviewed by Compulsive Reader and he is interviewed. Both make good reading...



Charles Lambert, a writer I have never met - lucky thing lives and works in Italy - but hope to... when his collection of prizewinning short stories The Scent of Cinnamon comes out later this year, through the indomitable and wonderful (naturally!) SALT Publishing.

Charles Lambert's debut novel Little Monsters came out earlier this year from Picador, and is waiting on a shelf to my left as I type this...But I am familiar with his short stories. He is a writer who should have been out there on the shelves years ago.... and it makes me cross, I must admit, to see work like his waiting for recognition when there is so much tat out there.

The title story of his Salt collection, The Scent of Cinnamon, was selected as one of the O. Henry Prize Stories 2007.


And his blog, linked on the right, is also HERE

Charles blogs about Little Monsters HERE

Reviews for Little Monsters include:

'Beautifully written and crafted, and more compelling than many thrillers.'
Daily Mail
‘When I was thirteen, my father killed my mother' is an opening line that could go one of two ways. Thankfully, it pans out into a haunting novel, not a turgid misery. This is the story of a young girl ripped apart by grief, shunted off to an uncaring relative and, finally, finding the stability she craves in her Uncle Joey. But the chance to upset the equilibrium of human relationships is only ever a breath away.’ Good Housekeeping


Charles Lambert said...

Thank you for this, Vanessa, and thank you for putting me onto Nicholas.

I'm in the same position with Words from a Glass Bubble as you are with Little Monsters. I keep dipping and and then thinking, no, I want to read it properly! Something I signally have no time to do at the moment. But I will, I will.. It's like those serious emails, the ones you really want to write, that keep getting put off for bitty day to day stuff...

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Thats the trouble, isn't it! I have a growing collection of wonderful books by people I 'know'... and an increasing workload.

And like you, I have no intention of skim-reading just to say 'I read this'! I look at the numbers of books galloped through by so many writers (it's become like the Derby... a race to show the best list!) and wonder wow. And what was this one like, read a year ago then?

look forward to Cinnamon too.

Julia Bohanna said...

These two writers look extremely interesting. Thanks for the recommended reads. Love the titles too - they have an enormous 'pick-up' quality.

I never skim. I think that knowing how many pints of blood go into writing a book make this a crime against literature.