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Thursday, 7 January 2021

#BookReview THE SWALLOWED MAN by EDWARD CAREY

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

I am writing this account, in another man's book, by candlelight, inside the belly of a fish. I have been eaten. I have been eaten, yet I am living still. From the acclaimed author of Little comes this beautiful and haunting imagining of the years Geppetto spends within the belly of a sea beast.

Drawing upon the Pinocchio story while creating something entirely his own, Carey tells an unforgettable tale of fatherly love and loss, pride and regret, and of the sustaining power of art and imagination.

PUBLISHED BY GALLIC BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website - signed hardback

hive.co.uk


MY REVIEW


This is a re-telling of the story of Pinochio, from the viewpoint of Geppetto as he sits inside the belly of a fish, and you can't help but be transfixed by the haunting desperation of a man as he looks back on his time as a parent, albeit to a wooden boy he created.

This is an extraodinary story and really centres on the despair and loneliness of a man, who created a boy to share his life with and the impact that had on him. The lengths it has driven him to when the little boy runs away. As Geppetto sits inside the fish awaiting his fate, he writes his story down on paper to share with his son, along with drawings and it is striking on how much his childhood was impacted by his own father and how that has shaped him as a man and father to Pinochio.

From the moment his son takes shape from the wood he uses to carve him, we see the impact of that relationship on both sides. How the meanness of Geppetto affected the young boy, but over time the father/son relationship strengthened and he grew to appreciate the company that having a family brought to him.

These are the books that I love to read! They're quirky, different and aren't afraid to approach storytelling from a different viewpoint. It shows the darkness and insanity of loneliness in stark terms and you're left with an overwhelming sadness for Geppetto as he looks back over his life.

One sentence really stuck out for me especially 'I crept about in the background of life' and that clearly showed how he felt undervalued, and unloved until this little wooden boy appeared in his life to give him a purpose in his lonely life.

A stunning little book.

★★★★★

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