And so it is. The dark crow of my thoughts has been gliding over the field of Fjona Uu, fueled by the food of her past work – and the promise of work to come. As hinted here, her short story collection Put on your Ontic Stasis Suits, originally published in 2000, will be reprinted later this year by McSíldo, an Icelandic/Scottish publishing house. As if this wasn’t enough, her third full-length novel, The Brontosaurus Sisters (mentioned in passing here) will be appearing at the same time. And what time is this, you ask? The release date seems to be going through more changes than the heroine of a theatrical musical, but it looks to be somewhere around the beginning of July. I hope, nevertheless, to get my claws on a proof copy a long time before then.
Needless to say, the title of the novel may have already caused some to emit a groan; nonetheless it is par for the course for Fjona, whose previous works, I hardly need to remind you, were called Lava in a Cold Climate and Pincers in the Tower. I would, however, persuade any such groaners to ensure that their prejudices don’t stand in the way of their reading Uu’s work, which is much cannier than it may sound – as is often (but not always) the case.
Much the same applies, I think, to the work of Dinos Tierotis, who is following up his debut Perseus and the Pepper Grinder with The Golden Bomber Jacket (published next week). Like Uu, Tierotis is one of those writers whose novels rely heavily on other people’s stories: in his case Greek myths. Though it is tempting to call this a lazy method, it has proved to be an effective one throughout the ages. A little-known English playwright, William Shakespeare, did a similar sort of thing, and it did him little harm. To succeed, however, a writer has to prove that they are using the story to help them get somewhere – and not just carrying it around like some worn trophy. Which is to say that are as many bad examples as there are good. As many? I mean, of course, much more. And when such books fail, they really fail. Anyone read Francine Paramoré’s Dante in Dagenham? No? Well, don’t – for the sake of your health, don’t.