Monday, 3 October 2016

Any Other Mouth by Anneliese Mackintosh

This is a truly extraordinary book. The blurb suggests it is a novel. Soon into reading you’re convinced that it is a series of unrelated short stories and then about a third of the way through you realise that the stories are related. The protagonist is the common factor.
Anneliese Mackintosh keeps us engaged.  Each “story” or chapter is relatively short and totally unpredictable. There is no recognisable story arc. She uses no well-worn formula. There even seems to be a different voice in each piece though we eventually recognise Greta’s voice as a unifying factor. Greta changes as she moves through her grief for her father.
The stories are not given to us in chronological order. Yet there is a logic to them: they track the changes that bring Greta to where she is today.
Frequently biographers use fictional techniques to enhance their work. Here we have a writer of fiction using the habits of memoir to keep us intrigued.
This all certainly works: I personally could hardly put this book down. Mackintosh’s prose is also of the finest.      


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