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My Name is Monster Reviews

My Name is Monster by Katie Hale

My Name Is Monster

Katie Hale

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Canongate Books Ltd
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Publication date: 6 Jun 2019
ISBN: 9781786896353

Canongate's lead debut fiction for the first half of 2019. Inspired by Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein, My Name Is Monster is a novel about power, about isolation, and about female relationships

3 stars out of 5
Sandra Newman
18 Jul 2019

"There are fresh and powerful ideas here, but this unusual tale of a mother-daughter relationship fumbles the story"

These ideas are fresh and powerful, and Hale often takes them in unexpected directions. She is a poet, and her writing is assured and can be strikingly beautiful. The mother-daughter relationship that develops between the Monsters feels at some times achingly familiar, at others beguilingly bizarre. Most of all, the book has a great generosity and empathy for monsterdom, and refreshingly allows its characters to find happiness without becoming more ordinary. But it’s rare for a debut novel not to have some problem that squanders much of its potential. Here, the issue is that Hale uses the tools of fiction mistrustfully and fumblingly. She has a reflex of avoiding or aborting scenes in which anything actually happens... Hale is certainly a skilful writer with a compelling voice, and her ideas are bold and promising. But in this first outing as a fiction writer, she’s using most of her talent and energy to avoid her story. One hopes the strengths of this book will be enough to give her a second chance at a novel, one that isn’t working so hard not to be a novel at all.