Book review – Blood Etc by Gee Williams

Blood etc by Gee WilliamsSet in the strange ‘neither here nor there’ borderland of Flintshire between England and Wales, the stories of Blood Etc examine human relationships, love, lies, regret and hope.

Gee Williams paints rich images of the landscape and lives that her characters inhabit. In Morfa she describes the weather as a living thing that “squatted, huge and immovable, on the too-close horizon.”

Her sentence are often unexpectedly vivid, capturing scenes effortlessly as she describes a character’s eyes “widening in their crepe nests”, while a woman walks inside “off the lawn, the emerald slivers falling from her dagger-heels.”

Then, the moment you relax into a tale, Gee takes your breath away with a simple revelation of human nature, ruthlessly revealing the deep, vast truths the rest of us carry unconsciously within us, never recognising them until she throws them before us, murmuring look at this. Continue reading

Book review – A Girl’s Arm by Gee Williams

A Girl's Arm by Gee WilliamsThe Knight’s Move, the opening story in Gee Williams’ collection, transports you to a cliff-face where guilt and memory meet an intent not quite specified. As with much of the best storytelling, a lot is is left unsaid, and what is said is raw, sharp, and sour-tasting in places, exquisitely sublime in others: a combination that works well for the reader.

By the end of the tale I feel that I know exactly how to climb an all-but sheer rock-face and the accompanying sense of weightless, a sensation that carried on for much of the collection, as Gee’s words you, then dip you from one life to another.

Most short story collections are a journey of sorts, as you travel from character to character, scenario to scenario, taking in the different views along the way. Continue reading