I read this disturbing science fiction masterpiece in 2006 and it’s stuck with me over the years. It’s a highly effective, bloodcurdling, thoughtful piece of writing from one of sci-fi’s most talented female writers – Octavia Butler (1947-2006).
Right, my last three reviews have encompassed a lot of serious philosophising and whatnot. Charles Bukowski’s Post Office (1971) isn’t quite in the same league there, but what it does represent is a fine instalment in addiction, and down and out, literature, as well as something genuinely funny to read.
The former sprung forth through the likes of Thomas De Quincey in the 19th century, who candidly discussed his addiction to opium. The latter, down and out literature, I first came across when I read several of George Orwell’s works, which dealt with poverty and social and economic injustice – a sad situation which hasn’t advanced a great deal since Orwell’s day.
Sartre’s Roads to Freedom trilogy took a dynamic shift in tone following on from the Age of Reason. Inspired by the likes of Virginia Woolf, the French philosopher decided to try his hand at simultaneous prose. The result is the Reprieve, which is a chilling psychological examination of a nation prior to outright warfare.
Welcome to the wild, unhinged, mental, and quite brilliant world of Venedikt Yerofeyev’s Moscow Stations.
The Russian writer (whose surname is also written as Erofeyev, Yerofeev, and Erofeev – there seems to be a tremendous amount of confusion about this) penned it in 1969, but it was first published 20 years later as a warning to the population about heavy drinking.
For the first Moonshake Books post, I’m covering Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. This was a vital text for me as I first read it when I was 17 and, emerging from childhood and teenage years reading Brian Jacques’ wonderful Redwall series, it introduced me to an exciting and grown-up literary world.