Silk for the Feed Dogs Paperback – 13 Sep 2013
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About the Author
Jackie Mallon is an Irish writer and fashion designer living in New York. After studying at London’s St Martins School, she worked in the world of high fashion in Milan for eight years, stockpiling stories for the novel she didn’t know she was gearing up to write. Jackie is a trained Irish dancer, a secret calligraphist, and needlework enthusiast. She enjoys sketching trees and rainy weather – not necessarily at the same time – and running marathons. She learnt Italian from reading Harry Potter with a dictionary on her daily tram commutes in Milan. She was once a dreadlocked petrol pump attendant and lived above a South London pub frequented by Cockney gangsters. She revels in the serenity of airports.
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I was drawn to this book by its title, and its promise to give an insider's account of that infamous, closeted world of designer fashion. It didn't disappoint. Through the eyes of Kat, the Irish farm-born designer who finds herself in the thick of elite design in Milan, the book is a well-drawn bazaar of eccentric and passionate characters, clothes, architecture and Italian culture. It's The Devil Wears Prada with a brain, a raised eyebrow, and a meaty, pulsating fashion heart.
Mallon has a quirky, fresh vocabulary and a flair for description which evokes vivid imagery without slowing the action down. It's a welcome breath of fresh air. I get fairly sick of books about the fashion world throwing out shallow narratives about stylists or fashion magazine writers and their tedious search for the right shoes or the right man. This is a different kettle of fish altogether.
My one gripe was that the central story arc, that of Kat's career progression, seemed a bit thin. Although quite a lot happens, there wasn't much character development. Even though I wasn't looking for a Pauline transformation for Kat, I found myself 90% in, wondering where the story could be going, because there was no build-up to the sort of climax or turning point which characterises a novel. Having said that, it didn't affect my enjoyment of it one bit, and I would definitely recommend it. This was the most talented debut I've read in a very long time. Brava!
There was quite a sudden shift from Kat's rural childhood in Ireland with her beloved Da to Central St Martin's in London but the reader is keen to find out what happens to her next.
I particularly enjoyed reading about the enduringly loyal and loving friendship between the protagonist, Kat, and her friend, Edward-mainly because this reminds me of someone I know.
I agree with another reviewer that this may be semi-autobiographical
. Well worth a read if you're remotely interested about the inside gen of the fashion industry.
Full of humour and intrigue , this novel is a joy to read.
Jackie maintains our interest right to the last page. It is a very plausible story and I suspect somewhat autobiographical.
As a first novel, it is a triumph.
This book gives a great insight into the fashion world, as we have never seen or heard before!
This book tells a story further than the fashion world. It tells a story of a great love between a father and daughter and how the upbringing and beliefs instilled in childhood are carried through life! I loved when Kat referred to "Da" and how Da would have sorted a situation. I especially loved the friendship between Kat and Edward. What a friendship!! What fun times they had together and the many adventures they had visiting the beautiful places described so well In the book, I felt I was there in the moment!
What a fab read, I'm sad to have let Kat go! Can't wait for the next piece of work by this fabulous irish writer!
It was like looking over someone's shoulder. Initially, I wasn't sure if this book was for me, currently my bookshelves are full of Jo Nesbo, Michael Dibdin and Andrea Camilleri, so this was a bit of a departure! Loved it, and hope we get to find out what happened to Kat next! Grazie!
I’m hoping she will follow what appears in effect to be an autobiography and write some thrillers now she has taken her revenge on those who exacted a price on her way up. With her ability, background knowledge of the cut throat ‘high fashion’ business as a backdrop; well, what an opportunity.