The New Death, quick book review

It is a great and wonderful thing when new authors step up into the limelight, especially when they present new work. Here is a short review of a short story and poem collection called The New Death, and others by James Hutchings.Cover of The New Death, by James Hutchings

I am a fan of Gothic literature, dating back to a set of short stories by Picador called Tales of the New Gothic which my parents ruefully purchased over 20 years ago. I’ve still that book too, and I remember fondly how quirky and odd it was in my reading experience as a young reader. It was like a gateway drug to Edgar Allen Poe and Silvia Plath. I loved it.

The New Death is similar, although even more diverse as it contains a range of poems, snippet writing, and short stories all of which fit snugly into the gothic / alternative fiction theme. As writing it is bloody odd. It is also enjoyable. Throughout the work are many nods to other authors typical of the theme, and there is also a reoccurring theme where a mood, passion, or essential entity is presented as a more human creature. Death, Love, Ambition, etc are presented in stories as themes and characters. Readers familiar with the Neil Gaiman Sandman series will see some parallels.

Much of the material is also fable like, or has an essential message. Some messages are blunt, such as the dislike of reality TV and vapid fame. Others are more subtle, like the many ways to present death and desire as a personalities.

The tone of the writing is not suitable for young readers as it touches on adult themes, but it also seems to remain symbolic enough so that a mid-teens reader would not be shocked or alarmed.

The Amazon store quick summary is intriguing, firstly for taking a broadside at the Twilight vampires (which I totally agree with), and secondly because it acknowledges that this is a strange collection:

44 stories. 19 poems. No sparkly vampires. There’s a thin line between genius and insanity, and James Hutchings has just crossed it – but from which direction?

As an offering of disclosure I didn’t randomly find Jame’s writing, he contacted me and asked if I’d be interested. That said, I’m glad he did as it’s a good book for poetry and gothic lit fans, especially younger readers.


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