Books

Review: Hell, Dante’s Divine Trilogy Part One by Alasdair Gray Rating 95%

Review: Hell, Dante’s Divine Trilogy Part One by Alasdair Gray

Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia) was written over eight years and completed in 1320, a year before the author’s death, and is considered to be a classic of world literature. It describes the author’s imagined journey through Hell in the first part, followed by Purgatory in the second part, and the third concluding with his eventual arrival in Heaven. It is well known for its vividly imaginative portrayal of the afterlife, and has seen many translations and interpretations throughout the years. The latest one is courtesy of Alasdair Gray, famously described by Will Self as “a creative polymath with an integrated politico-philosophic vision”.

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Michael Pedersen & Bréon Rydell: It was captivating, mesmerizing, enchanting, heartbreaking and beautiful in one poetic whirl

The Neu! Reekie! lads are at it again, this time in the co-production of the play, It Is Easy To Be Dead, bringing Charles Hamilton Sorley back to his home to Aberdeen, namely The Tivoli Theatre. Working with Bréon Rydell, Michael Pedersen will give a taster tonight at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh with guest performer songstress Rachel Sermanni lulling the audience into a haunting atmos, offering an entertaining event. 

Both Bréon (BR) and Michael (MP) spoke with The Fountain about how this production came about and what inspired the collaboration.

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Review: Collision Theory by Adrian Todd Zuniga Rating 60%

Review: Collision Theory by Adrian Todd Zuniga

Collision Theory is a novel about a screenwriter that could have been written as a film script. Journalist Todd Zuniga’s debut, penned under the name Adrian Todd Zuniga, would work well on the screen, but unfortunately works less so on the page. Short and succinct in its two hundred pages, it doesn’t need to be any longer for its content.

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Review: The Flame by Leonard Cohen Rating 75%

Review: The Flame by Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s death from leukaemia in November 2016 brought the curtain down on an illustrious and prolific music career that spanned five decades. As well as the ubiquitous Hallelujah, which has been covered over three hundred times in numerous different languages, Cohen’s other famous songs include So Long Marianne, Suzanne and Bird on a Wire to name a few. He won numerous awards throughout the course of his life, including a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2010 and the inaugural New England PEN Award for Excellence in Lyrics in 2012, as well as being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Before his music career took off, however, Cohen published his first poetry compilation, Let Us Compare Mythologies, in 1956, and would go on to publish twelve more books including two novels.

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Review: Running Upon The Wires by Kate Tempest Rating 79%

Review: Running Upon The Wires by Kate Tempest

Running Upon The Wires is Kate Tempest’s first book of free-standing poetry since the prolific Hold Your Own, and we are not long into the book before we are reminded of Kate’s experimental and non-conformist approach, her contents begin at the end and work their way to the beginning. With a narrative running throughout the collection that focuses on the end of one relationship and the beginning of a new one, we are treated to more personal works from Tempest, as she intimately lays bare her feelings as she navigates the course of love, with it’s woes and it’s ends, transitioning to the fresh and the new.

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Review: Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett Rating 96%

Review: Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett

Bound with string, with a wax-sealed letter included, opening up Dragon Post was rather pleasing in itself. The first book to be published by Emma Yarlett since the Nibbles titles, there is high expectation with this stunningly illustrated book, which reminds me of The Jolly Postman for the interactive, touching element. A fun and uplifting title, which looks like it would have been rather good fun to write and publish to be honest, this is a wonderful picture book for those four and up to engage with.

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Review: Neu! Stoney Rating 95%

Review: Neu! Stoney

Stonehaven Town Hall on the town’s Market Square is busy and in darkness tonight, but it adds to the atmosphere of the evening’s entertainment, alongside the films about Victorian medical procedures that flash in the background. This is offset nicely by the BYOB arrangement, designed to give a ‘house party’ feel to tonight’s Neu! Reekie!.

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Review: Crudo by Olivia Laing Rating 78%

Review: Crudo by Olivia Laing

Crudo, thought-provoking writer, Olivia Laing’s first novel was surprisingly only written in just seven weeks. An intelligent piece of fiction, yet also not without it’s fair share of political commentary, with the social context, it is a novel of change and fluidity. Bringing elements of post-punk icon Kathy Acker’s story (the protagonist is named Kathy Acker) to elements of herself, surviving the summer of 2017, Laing has cultivated a story that merges sheer indulgence with rise of a perilous political landscape and a president that could see them into nuclear war.

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Review: Tin Man by Sarah Winman Rating 74%

Review: Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Following on from the acclaimed success of A Year of Marvellous Ways and When God Was a Rabbit, actress, and literary writer, Sarah Winman has cast us under her spell yet again with her beautiful prose, as we follow the lives of Ellis, Michael and the understated Annie, in this exploration of character, sexuality, humanity and friendship as we discover more about this trio of complex characters, well certainly Michael and Ellis at least. To describe the plot is not easy, as this is definitely more a book about character than story, although you soon find that you become intrigued by the story behind the characters and that pulls you until you put this read down.

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Review: Fishnet by Kirstin Innes Rating 92%

Review: Fishnet by Kirstin Innes

Kirstin Innes’ debut novel, Fishnet, was first published by Freight Books in 2015 to critical acclaim. Subsequently it went on to win the Guardian Not the Booker Prize later that same year, another accolade for Innes, one of the first recipients of the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers Award back in 2009. Unfortunately, Freight’s collapse late last year left Innes and her novel cast adrift without a publisher, along with many others. Luckily, Black & White Publishing came to the rescue in this case, and they brought the new edition to the shelves in July of this year.

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