The novel uses its single sentence in a way that makes it an accessible and compelling read. It goes to show that it’s important to see beyond the quirks and give even the weirdest sounding books a chance.
What constitutes an easy death? Or a difficult one? Though her mother’s death was considered ‘easy’ by doctors, it still involved pain, suffering, and turmoil.
Quin uses vagaries, the mists of the seaside Brighton, and a circularity of language to construct a perfect circular narrative. So perfect, that it’s a magical experience to get to the ending and read how everything comes together.
Though the inside flap copy describes the trilogy as ‘Dickensian’, I have to disagree with that description. There’s a reason these books were censored in Ireland when they were first published and implying that these books have any ‘quaintness’ of tone is really not capturing what O’Brien is attempting to say.
We happened across Raoul Peck’s film I Am Not Your Negro one February night while flipping through the channels. TVO was airing it as part of its yearly Black History Month’s selections. It’s a film that I would not hesitate to name as essential, and it’s what was responsible for my introduction to James Baldwin’s work.
Each novel is a different exploration and comment on Irish culture, but each is written in a style that is uniquely O’Brien’s. He has a talent for bitter, scathing satire that sits in the midst of light, often comic prose.
To describe Abe’s The Face of Another as a horror novel would only be scratching the surface of what it truly delivers.