At its core, Bulletproof Vest is about the shields we wear to protect ourselves both physically and emotionally from harm. Some of the most poignant moments in the narrative are when we’re allowed to see these hardened characters’ vulnerabilities.
The creation of stories is a fundamental human activity. By placing events in relation to one another we structure our experience and generate meaning. The narratives we believe convince us by their proximity to what we perceive as real, whether this perception is grounded in our specific knowledge of the world or conjured in our heads as the story is told.
Fiction is perhaps the best place for a conspiracy. Where else does a writer have permission to take the most controversial theory, fill in the gaps and spin it into a tale? Such is the case with ‘The Marlowe Papers,’ Ros Barber’s acclaimed debut novel— winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize, Author’s Club Best First Novel Award and long listed for the Orange Women’s Prize in 2013.
Faulkner is certainly one of those writers whose thoughts of home colored his entire oeuvre. Most of the writer’s novels and stories take place in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County. He was known to call the place ‘my apocryphal county’–and yet this creation of the author’s is a simulacrum of the county in which he grew up and lived the majority of his life: Lafayette County.
The past can be a gloriously fertile place for authors: the sparser the facts, the more space there is for fiction to grow and thrive. As Hilary Mantel puts it, ‘the imagination can suggest what’s erased’, while WG Sebald speaks of the desire to ‘fill in the gaps and blank spaces and create out of this a meaning which is greater that that which you can prove.’ The Miniaturist, a novel with a mystery at its heart, makes enthusiastic use of the ‘blank spaces’ of seventeenth-century mercantile Amsterdam in its story of eighteen-year-old Nella Brandt.
Immediately, the tension that works so well throughout the novel is established: just like the waxing and waning of the tides that dictate life on the water, Zentner teases out a back and forth in the narrative that makes for an endlessly salacious read.
A new review of books focused on debuts, translations, and all works that would otherwise go undetected. It is a collaborative of authors, translators, and reviewers bound by one purpose: to contribute to the dialogue of literature.