Tuesday 14 April 2020

Read 2020 - 40 - Sing Your Sadness Deep by Laura Mauro

Through hot tears Rina saw the deep black slits of his eyes, his face flushed
in fury, and the red rabbit was there, black-mouthed and
screaming, crushing her paper-delicate throat.

Oh man, I am a huge fan of Laura Mauro and a little intimidated at having to express some thoughts about what is undoubtedly an amazing, original and brilliant first collection.

First note, I am not a reviewer. That is a skill that I admire but do not own. In these posts I note the books I've read, some notes on where I got the book or what was happening when I was reading it, hell I've even mentioned what my bookmarks are. These posts are mostly records for me so that I remember what I've read. I, of course, would and will always remember that I read this collection.

I've put off writing this review as I didn't want to do Laura a disservice in any way (not that anyone but me and my husband ever read my blogs - I think).

So, I picked up Sing Your Sadness Deep in Derby at a Sledge or Edge-Lit, in a Premier Inn bedroom, at a special launch alongside Georgina Bruce's This House of Wounds (which I read last year). There was free wine and a huge group of wonderful people there to help Laura and George celebrate. An event I am so glad I didn't miss.

I'd read a lot of the stories before. I was happy to read them again.

The collection opens with Sun Dogs, a powerful story of unconventional love in the heat of the desert. In the surreal Red Rabbits we follow a trail of red rabbits etched onto the ground. The imagery in The Grey Men has stayed with me since first reading the story in Black Static. Sad, intriguing and desperate, the story of lost men hanging in the air and how you may belong among them.

Ptichka was the first story of Laura's I ever read. I knew I'd discovered an amazing new talent. This political story of a pregnant woman who cannot afford treatment in this new Britain, is still as powerful as on its first read.

A new story for me was The Looking Glass Girl, a fairy tale set in the 21st century. When her long-dead sister appears in a hand mirror, after their mother's death, the protagonist heads home where a dreadful secret waits.

The brilliant, iconic and original When Charlie Sleeps, where a monster controls the moods of London by an umbilical cord that runs through the sewers. This is a future classic. They'll teach this story in schools.

In the Marrow broke my heart for a second-time. Is she a changeling or is she a girl who is simply dying? I have a lump in my throat even now.

Then we have, Looking for Laika. An award-winning story and possibly the best of an already strong collection. A space dog, stories to keep away the nightmares, the fear of a nuclear attack, family. An absolutely beautiful, dreadful, sad sad story.

Bookmark: The Rats (a Storgy bookmark)
Read during the Great Quarantine of 2020

Shush! We're mentioned in the acknowledgements - and that is the best thing ever.

Here's a photo from the launch.

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