In her debut book, Hattrick addresses with gusto the poorly understood condition of ME/CFS with which both she and her mother live. Her title plays on the ambiguities relating to this ‘medically unexplained’ illness, whose very labelling continues to be contentious and divisive. Hattrick unpacks the ways sufferers feel ill, but also the feelings they have about being ill and about the attitude of others towards CFS….
In the era of the instant communication that comes with the ever-advancing technology it is easy to forget the art of letter writing where relationships were built, and destroyed, on well-travelled paper. With texting, emails, or messaging through social media, exchange is almost instantaneous. The miles between the conversation matter little in this form. Letters, however, are a somewhat forgotten mode of communication that involves more thought-out conversations, triggering also a certain amount of suspense between delivering and receiving. Jeremy Cooper’s Bolt from the Blue revives the letter as dialogue in capturing the complicated relationship between a mother and daughter.
Dark Neighbourhood is a collection bound by dread. ‘Dark’ is an appropriate word, as these stories enter the dark recesses of the minds of troubled characters as well as dark places.
Maria Stepanova has been a popular and prolific poet, essayist and journalist in Russia for many years, but 2021 was the year her work was brought to the English-speaking world. In Memory of Memory is one of three books published in translation this year; a poetry collection War of the Beasts and the Animals (Bloodaxe) and The Voice Over, a collection of poems and essays (Columbia University Press).