Republic of Consciousness

Previous Books of the Month


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May 2019: where there are monsters by breanne mc ivor

(Peepal Tree Press)

from the publisher: In this powerfully engaging collection of short stories, Breanne Mc Ivor lifts the tropes and characters of Caribbean folklore and places them among the concrete, glass and heat of a hectic, recognizable, crime-ridden Trinidad.

These are not simply modern or modernised folktales, but beautifully crafted, fully formed contemporary stories by a hugely talented writer who uses them as narrative vehicles to address weighty questions about human nature and Trinidadian society.



from the publisher: Step inside the twilit realm of Thomas Chadwick: a place where the flow of time stalls and swells, halts and hastens, in utterly unpredictable ways. Urgent demands collide with outbreaks of eerie calm, stretches of idleness dovetail with sudden insistence on action, and an inertia without end can bloom from the limbo between the delayed departure of a boat and the arrival of cataclysmic climate change.

Combining gentle lyricism with absurdity and biting humour, and finding poignancy in slippages between past, present, and foreboding future, Chadwick’s stories conjure up rare magic and cast a disorienting spell. Placid evenings distend into weeks of trouble before sundown, months of anxiety are distilled into a single heartbeat, and, from dawn to dusk, the duration of an entire day is neatly contained between the covers of a book.


March 2019: Proleterka by Fleur Jaeggy, tr. alastair mcewan (AND OTHER STORIES)

from 3:AM Magazine: What makes her writing so free of convention, so powerful in its asceticism is her ability to freeze out all that’s unnecessary, to say only what cannot be kept to herself, dropping the rest so as to remain suspended in the void, wishing for nothing to happen.

from the publisher: A fifteen-year-old girl and her father, Johannes, take a cruise to Greece on the Proleterka. Jaeggy recounts the girl’s youth in her distinctively strange, telescopic prose: the remarried mother, cold and unconcerned; the father who was allowed only rare visits with the child; the years spent stashed away with relatives or at boarding school. For the girl and her father, their time on the ship becomes their ‘last and first chance to be together.’ On board, she becomes the object of the sailors’ affection, receiving a violent, carnal education. Mesmerised by the desire to be experienced, she crisply narrates her trysts as well as her near-total neglect of her father. Proleterka is a ferocious study of distance, diffidence and ‘insomniac resentment.’

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February 2019: Sissy by ben borek (boiler house press)

from 3:AM Magazine: There is something about it — the relentlessness, the largesse, the wit — that means it feels like something that has sprung into existence fully formed… an extraordinary achievement.

from the publisher: Sissy is an hilarious, epic romp of a novel encompassing, in its burlesque scope, our modern crisis of masculinity, the banality of City work, our retreat into virtual lives and the alienating effects of modern technology, with plenty of variegated sexing in-between. Sissy is an anti-hero antidote to Don Juans; a modern masculine counterweight to, and sad manifestation of, the internet-induced fright of the real: a thirty-something wimp by day – surreally re-born of his long-suffering mother each morning – and a would-be-gangsta by virtual night. The novel is a virtuosic attack on the notion of the male Romantic Hero written in a language that is rich and flamboyant; enjoyably, hilariously, baroque, while at the same time an extraordinary reclamation of the narrative epic form for the woker ‘now’.

"SISSY is a funny, exquisite, appalling, unprecedented, masterpiece." – Toby Litt