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Starlings (The Karnac Library) Paperback – 1 Dec 2016
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At last a book that taps into the spirit of Joyce, Flann O'Brien, McCullers - brave writing at its finest. --Pele Cox, former poet in residence at the RA and author of The Mistress's Account
Modern, compelling, but with an historical strand that gives the book added poignancy and depth, Miranda Gold's Starlings is an outstanding first novel. She is that rare thing...a writer of real quality, and I greatly look forward to the books that will surely follow. --Jeremy Robson, publisher
It has the intensity of poetry. --Denise Hooker, author of Nina Hamnett: Queen of Bohemia
About the Author
Miranda Gold is a writer currently based in London. Before turning her focus to fiction, Miranda took the Soho Theatre Course for young writers, where her play, Lucky Deck, was selected for development and performance. Starlings is currently being adapted for the stage. She is now working on her second novel.
Top customer reviews
This is a story that demands a lot of the reader; the writing style is difficult to connect with at first, but as this clever author continues, her words begin to compel and intrigue.
Set over just twenty-four hours, this is Sally's story, as she lives it. She's a troubled and complex girl, desperate for the love of the brother that she adores, and who left the family some years before. Her family are damaged and their history has formed Sally's life. The memories of her parents, and grandparents. Memories that have passed from one generation down to the next, forming them, making them ill and preventing them from forming their own, fresh memories.
Sally visits her brother every year. It is her opportunity to escape from the fear and disease filled home that overwhelms her. Yet, she is unable to be free and enjoy herself. Her mind continues to whirl with questions and self-doubt.
Starlings is a challenging novel. It is intense and sometimes seems almost something of a battle. It is, however, a beautifully written battle, with poetic prose that is expertly paced. Brave and poignant, I'd certainly recommend it
It's a book that takes some investment into getting used to its highly poetic and descriptive style of writing. I personally like books that are highly descriptive, but here it seemed over powering. I can see the writer was trying to describe to the reader the women's highly chaotic state of mind, but the large sections of almost poetic style of writing, over powered the besutifully written more traditional prose.
It is most definately worth a read. The author has huge talent and a powerful,moving tale to tell.
The story is set over a twenty-four hour period during which Sally visits Steven, an annual excursion fraught with emotion. The sibling’s relationship, although close and happy in childhood, is now shadowed. Sally is afraid that if she raises certain topics in conversation she will lose what is left of the brother she remembers and loves. She clings to those memories and longs for their closeness to return.
It took a few pages before I found the rhythm of the prose. It has a depth that demands concentration but the reward makes any effort worthwhile.
Growing up Sally did not comprehend much of what was happening around her and her brother as they played. They were offered “a palimpset of stories and silence”. Sally ponders how many of her memories are based on first hand knowledge, how much is accurate and what she has missed from the snippets shared or overheard.
The adults survived in a kind of denial caused by fear. Sally’s grandfather was hospitalised when his wife tried to burn off the camp numbers tattoo’d on his arm. The children watched as she wielded her cigarette, yet heard it talked of as an accident. When the truth was suggested the speaker was talked down.
Sally is often told that she has her grandfather’s eyes and understands that this causes her mother pain. Her inability to prevent this adds to the hurts which permeate the family.
Internalising so much from the generations before has left Sally unsure of how to function in company. She longs to spend time with her brother, to leave the never discussed difficulties and the soundtrack of her mother’s demands behind. When the reality of her trip to Brighton does not match the plans she had conjured in her head she recalls other visits dogged by disappointments which she blames on herself. Her mind overflows with comments and questions that she dare not voice for fear of Steven’s reaction. She tries to fathom what his life has become when her own, it seems, cannot move on.
I found the story challenging but deeply moving. It reveals an effect of the holocaust that I had not considered before. Having discovered that it is inspired by the author’s own family history I am impressed by its lack of rancour.
The disconnect between Sally and the more typical Brighton nightlife offers a poignant juxtaposition. She longs to repeat actions that formed her happier memories. Her travel bag contains little, yet she is burdened with thoughts almost too heavy to bear.
The poetic imagery and loneliness of the protagonist create a powerful voice. This is a beautifully written book that I recommend you read. It is a story that I will be contemplating for some time to come.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Karnac.
When I read the blurb I thought it sounded interesting, not my usual read. This book focuses on Sally, who is desperate to rekindle her relationship with Steven her brother.
It was quite difficult to read at times as it was mainly descriptive. I think the story would be more suited for the stage.