The Tiny One by Eliza Minot ****
I love stories which feature child narrators, and Eliza Minot’s The Tiny One was almost perfect. The book’s blurb ticked a lot of boxes for me, and I was very much looking forward to immersing myself within the story. Via is only eight years old when her mother is killed in a car accident; her voice from the outset is believable, and has been constructed both with sensitivity and an outpouring of emotion. She springs to life almost immediately; she is made up of naive quirks and complexities. The structure which Minot has utilised within her novel is the age-old formula of fragmented memories, which build a full picture of both Via and her mother. Once I began to read The Tiny One, I could barely put it down. It is as transportative as Kaye Gibbons’ work, and is a must for anyone who enjoys reading about trauma in fiction, or seeing serious occurrences from the viewpoint of an unreliable or biased narrator.
Falling Awake by Alice Oswald ****
Alice Oswald’s Falling Awake has one of the most beautiful blurbs which I have ever read; even had I not been familiar with her poetry or output beforehand, it would definitely have enticed me to pick this particular tome up. I very much enjoyed Dart when I read it a couple of years ago, and have been eager to read more of Oswald’s ever since. The imagery which she creates throughout Falling Awake is nothing short of beautiful, and her use of mythology is strong and fitting. The themes of nature and mutability tie the whole together wonderfully. Oswald’s repetitions are splendidly handled, and there is not a single poem here which falls short of being meaningful or memorable. Falling Awake is a fluid poetry collection, which I would heartily recommend to any fans of poetry.