Monday, 6 February 2017

Guest Review: Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell


Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell
Published by StrangeBooks on December 31st, 2014.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Guest review by Rebecca Gransden
Rebecca Gransden is a wonderfully imaginative author and her novel anemogram was one of my Top Twenty books of 2016. You can find out more about Rebecca and her writing on her own website, https://rebeccagransden.wordpress.com/

Rebecca's rating: 4 of 5 stars

“20 mind-expanding short stories. Inspiring, liberating, otherworldly, magical, surreal, bizarre, funny, disturbing, unique... all of these words have been used to describe the stories of Mike Russell so put on your top hat, open your third eye and enjoy: Nothing Is Strange

Rebecca says: What a great selection of shorts. Russell works away in the background like a mystical trickster, the stories full of surreal imagery but somehow twisting them into the more plausible reading of reality.

Reading this collection reminded me of those first rushes of intellectual expansion that you own as an individual, and you spend too much time conjecturing on the nature of reality and everything is mind-blowing. What if instead of this everything was this? But then this was really this! Whoah! These stories really are that much fun.

Russell is a cajoling storyteller. There is a warm and classic feel to the tone of these unexpected tales which lulls the reader into a compliant acceptance. It’s just as well Russell appears to have good intentions as these powers could wreak havoc in nefarious hands. Instead he presents stories that have a keen mystical bent and carry the reader sage like through a pick ’n’ mix of straightforward faux innocent delights. Yes, delights. Unless I’m missing something cynicism has left the building and what remains isn’t twee or naive but unrooted, wise and generous. Perhaps some sort of surrealist parable is closest.

‘The End of Sex,’ is too funny.

It is possible that Russell is playing the fool like the classical fool, and that his stories with their deadpan tone and spiritual aspects should be taken as a simple way into personal truth. Or they are wonderfully evocative mind bending tales that draw forth rich imagery laden with heavy symbolism. Or they are a series of engrossing and entertaining pieces full of a refreshingly giving humour and lively mind’s eye world. Whatever, this was extremely enjoyable to read and I look forward to more from this author.



Thank you Rebecca!

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4 comments:

  1. "Reading this collection reminded me of those first rushes of intellectual expansion that you own as an individual, and you spend too much time conjecturing on the nature of reality and everything is mind-blowing."

    What a perfect way to describe your reading experience! I've been ensconced in nonfiction lately, so I know the feeling. :)

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    1. Love when we can completely get into a book like that :)

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  2. It sounds like this was a brilliant collection and that above all else it was funny and so enjoyable to read. Which is exactly what I thought this book would be like from the cover.

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    1. It's a great image, isn't it? I love a striking book cover!

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