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The unreliable narrator is a device i've seen crop up in a few places recently, so put that on the list with authorial confluences, planned or otherwise. It's certainly the thing that drew me to The Beauty in the first place - how re-readings give you quite different impressions. It's a tough thing to pull off - you're nudging me towards reading the other titles off the back of this in fact. As for analysing it properly? Seems to depend on the reader to date. People comment on Nathan, Ted, the Beauties et al from their own perspectives. Of course we all do that with any story, but its very interesting comparing how those differing views reflect on the readers. People can have such personal reactions on the theme of gender. Whether people are threatened by The Beauty, disgusted, empowered, vindicated etc. I've seen all of those reactions as well. I'd be interested to hear if it's the same with Ceremony of Flies and The Mothers of Voorhisville.
Of the shortlist I've actually only read The Beauty and The Good Shabti so it's interesting to hear such strong themes link them all. Not sure if that's the result of trends in writerly concerns, judicial preference or just coincidence. Interesting none the less. In fact, that probably makes Shabti the distinctive one. It's not about motherhood, but there's more than one source for horror stories. And instead of starting with normality and showing the breakdown there's an inevitability to it all. You know from the first page it's not going to end well but the characters are compelled to go there anyway. It also has ambiguity with the ending, not the least because what if Mentuhotep retains his intelligence? What happens next?! Also ritual - because both halves of the story are about humanity using ritual to challenge death. Sure, one involves computers and near-future tech, but that doesn't mean you can ignore the rites. Or the machinations of the living generally snarling the plan. Your shabti grabbed me as well, with his conflicts between loyalty to his master, his faith and the inescapable realities of his situation. His perseverance despite his tribulations was my favourite aspect. Anyway, that's a long way of saying, you might win it! Me, I'm just chuffed that two indie upstarts from the UK are sharing the list.
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Apr 7, 2015