My Name Is Monster first attracted my attention, as I was aware of the name Katie Hale, through the poetry scene, and it’s dystopian flavours appealed, but this is at it’s heart a story of survival, which is never really fully explained, and a character that I’m not sure develops with all that goes on around her.
Okay, so this is the synopsis, a post-apocalyptic dystopian that is not unfamiliar to us. The Sickness has killed off her parents, and bombs have fallen on the last safe cities, but protagonist, Monster, washes up on the coast of Scotland, and her first instinct is to believe she is alone in this desolate world.
With vivid and atmospheric description, Monster begins the long walk south, becoming acquainted with this unknown land, understanding it’s harshness and contours. Through this, she builds a life that tells the reader that this Monster is not just a survivor, she is a fighter throughout the novel. She then finds another: another survivor, feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. She then develops the name Monster and Monster transforms into Mother.
Inspired by Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein, My Name Is Monster is a novel about power, survival and the love of a mother, but what keeps us reading is Katie’s wonderfully written landscapes, and descriptive imagery, as the story itself if we are honest, is not entirely driving this novel. It’s a story that makes you think about the work of William Golding and perhaps even Huxley at points, but the premise is not what gets us reading on, it’s the relationship between Monster and Mother, and Monster, and then of course, their relationship with their surroundings. It’s a story that is difficult to put down for the writing, and one that makes me curious about what is next for Katie Hales, I will certainly be keeping my ear to the ground.
My Name Is Monster is out on 6th June, published by Canongate Books.