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The Whale Tattoo

The Whale Tattoo

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And grief is central to the narrative to the extent that Joe’s mental health is unbalanced and yet perfectly understandable. And so, THE WHALE TATTOO is both a dream and a nightmare, both a pursuit of objectivity and an escape from the claws of morality. I liked the way the floods were described and this dreariness of the southern lifestyle at that time was something that I felt.

Joe Gunner and the river that keeps mocking him, the death that follows him around and the fragility of everything he holds dear in this book broke my heart as much as it had me glued to each page. These timeline jumps and disjointed narration did require some adjustment, and for me, hovered around the line between reader absorption and confusion, usually ending on the right side. What’s more, every character carries the water’s darkness deep within, every limb appears forged from something indistinct and shapeless. I really struggled to read this and in the end I had to admit defeat and give up reading at around the halfway mark.From one of the most acclaimed debut novelists of 2022 author of the Polari Prize short listed The Whale Tattoo. Numerous sexual contacts with other males (short as these scenes may be in the novel, they are still explicit none the less), are generally random, unloving, unfulfilling, and without emotion. The distinctive way in which the author portrayed Eli's relationship with Jimmy, an older man who 'blew in like a whirlwind of sorts.

Eli’s aunt allows Jimmy, whose family work the merry-go-round at fairs (the gallopers) to stay in their barn and Eli finds himself becoming obsessed. Jon Ransom’s debut novel, The Whale Tattoo, is filled with prose that picks you up in its wake and takes you on a journey.I loved the picture drawn at one stage of one of the characters sitting down to a meal, using a table full of mismatched crockery that she had found washed up during the storm . This book felt reminiscent of something like a Max Porter or an Andrew Michael Hurley, at the same time shot through with shades of Douglas Stuart.

Suppressed or not, anger infuses the text; Joe’s anger at those around him, at himself, at his sexuality.Ransom's short stories have appeared in many anthologies and journals including Queer Life, Queer Love amongst others. Ransom’s writing keeps readers alert since there are generally no warnings of time shifts nor clear distinctions between reality and illusion. He was a mentee on the 2019 Escalator Talent Development scheme at the National Centre for Writing and his short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies, including Queer Life, Queer Love (Muswell Press). I’m not honestly sure how well the playtext fits: it felt more interesting than essential but having finished the book I’m minded to reread that section with the knowledge of what will happen.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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