Following a run of Man Booker International Prize posts, I now have some recent English-language books lined up to look at on the blog. First up is the debut novel by Venetia Welby, which is published by Quartet Books.
Matty Corani’s life is in pieces. His girlfriend Tera died in a car crash that also left his brother Ben in a coma. Matty spends his days in and around his Soho bedsit, drifting through various casual encounters, waiting for the next chemical helping hand from his appropriately-named friend Fix. He’s having bad dreams and seeing a psychotherapist, for what good it’s doing.
Mother of Darkness is one intense piece of fiction, as Matty’s dreams evolve into the belief that he is the chosen vessel of a new god, Feracor. There are several strands of writing in the novel, including the psychotherapist’s reports; the life writing that she has suggested Matty attempt; and the ‘speeches’ of Feracor. Piece them all together, and the truth emerges eventually. The narrative pull of Welby’s novel in getting to that point is quite something.
Mother of Darkness (2017) by Venetia Welby. Quartet Books, 285 pages, hardback (review copy).