In Review

Scary Monsters by Michelle de Kretser – what the critics have said

This slyly intelligent sixth novel is ‘sort of magnificent, and it’s also sort of gimmicky’

“Michelle de Kretser’s slyly intelligent sixth novel pairs two first-person narratives,” said Anthony Cummins in The Observer.

One is set in “dystopian near-future Melbourne” and follows Lyle, an immigrant who works for a sinister government agency created to deport immigrants. The other is set in 1981, and follows Lili, a 22-year-old Australian, during a carefree sojourn in the south of France.

The link between the two narratives is mysterious – and even the order you read them in is “up to you”, on account of the book’s “reversible, Kindle-defying two-way design”.

The publisher has been “fastidious” in cooperating with de Kretser’s conceit, said Sam Leith in The Daily Telegraph: there are two front covers, two copyright pages, two sets of acknowledgements, and so on. “It’s sort of magnificent, and it’s also sort of gimmicky” – and it left me unsure if I was actually reading a novel, or simply two novellas yoked together. Perhaps, though, it doesn’t really matter. Filled with “apt quick literary brushstrokes and the gleam of humour”, both halves are equally “terrific”.

Allen & Unwin 320pp £14.99; The Week Bookshop £11.99

Scary Monsters book
The Week Bookshop

To order this title or any other book in print, visit theweekbookshop.co.uk, or speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835. Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

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