#BLOGTOUR IF ALL THE WORLD AND LOVE WERE YOUNG by STEPHEN SEXTON #BOOKREVIEW #POETRY @dylanthomasprize #SUDTP2020

Delighted to be a part of the wonderful Blog Tour to share my thoughts on a stunning poetry collection, IF ALL THE WORLD AND LOVE WERE YOUNG by STEPHEN SEXTON. My thanks to Martina at  Midas Public Relations for the copy of the book and putting the tour together.

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘Every poem in this book is a marvel. Taken all together they make up a work of almost miraculous depth and beauty’ Sally Rooney

‘A poetry debut fit to compare with Seamus Heaney. This wonderful long poem is up there with the greats’ Sunday Times

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection

When Stephen Sexton was young, video games were a way to slip through the looking glass; to be in two places at once; to be two people at once. In these poems about the death of his mother, this moving, otherworldly narrative takes us through the levels of Super Mario World, whose flowered landscapes bleed into our world, and ours, strange with loss, bleed into it. His remarkable debut is a daring exploration of memory, grief and the necessity of the unreal.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

whsmith

blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a stunning piece of work.  I wondered how mixing the world of Super Mario World with grieving would work, but somehow it just does! It had me smiling at the memories it created in my mind about playing Super Mario World and the escapism that the game offered, and had me crushed by his descriptions of watching someone he loves be so ill and dealing with loss and grief.

What really comes across is the honesty and emotion that he was clearly going through. How do you make sense of watching the world around you and all that you know crumble away? For him, losing himself every now and then in a fantasy world of a video game was the release he needed.   It mixes the memories of different levels in the game – seeing the names appear and the challenges in each level made me smile with fondess! – alongside memories of his family and his mother. Life provides challenges of its’ own and we are all competing in the video game of life – with hopefully no big bad beastie/boss at the end to have to defeat.

I thought this collection was a pure gem that left me in tears.  It was beautifully written, poignant but punchy, raw but refined and how the little moments during his life now meant so much to him.  Cannot recommend this highly enough!

★★★★★

For more information about the Dylan Thomas Prize 2020 please click the link below…

THE SWANSEA UNIVERSITY DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE

#BookReview STUBBORN ARCHIVIST by YARA RODRIGUES FOWLER @dylanthomasprize #SUDTP2020

A huge delight to be part of this wonderful tour, and to share my thoughts on STUBBORN ARCHIVIST by YARA RODRIGUES FOWLER today with you all. My thanks to Martina at  Midas Public Relations for the copy of the book and putting the tour together.

ABOUT THE BOOK

For fans of Chemistry and Normal People: A mesmerizing and witty debut novel about a young woman growing up between two disparate cultures, and the singular identity she finds along the way

But where are you really from? 

When your mother considers another country home, it’s hard to know where you belong. When the people you live among can’t pronounce your name, it’s hard to know exactly who you are. And when your body no longer feels like your own, it’s hard to understand your place in the world.

In Stubborn Archivist, a young British Brazilian woman from South London navigates growing up between two cultures and into a fuller understanding of her body, relying on signposts such as history, family conversation, and the eyes of the women who have shaped her—her mother, grandmother, and aunt. Our stubborn archivist takes us through first love and loss, losing and finding home, trauma and healing, and various awakenings of sexuality and identity. Shot through the novel are the narrator’s trips to Brazil, sometimes alone, often with family, where she accesses a different side of herself—one, she begins to realize, that is as much of who she is as anything else.

A hypnotic and bold debut, Stubborn Archivist is as singular as its narrator; a novel you won’t soon forget. 

PUBLISHED BY FLEET

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

hive.co.uk

Waterstones

MY REVIEW

I found this to be such an intriguing read as it looks into your own identity if you don’t really know yourself!! You’re somewhere in between and often feel like you don’t fit in! Are you Brazilian? Are you English?  And this book follows the journey of a young woman as she tries to discover just how she is – personally, sexually, politically, relationships, history – and all that comes with it.

It’s told in a stunning way with a mix of story and poetry, and this did take a little bit of getting my head around for a while. BUT once I’d got into the flow and the mindset of the narrator it all came together beautifully and was so rewarding when it all clicked into place for me as a reader! There are many issues to do with family and growing up  is a complicated process anyway, but even more so if you’re of mixed backgrounds and trying to make sense of it all!.

Her life is split into different sections and tells of trips to Brazil to see if she can find connection there,  and living in England and how isolated she can often feel here.  She just never really feels settled anywhere and that affects her mood and how she sees herself.  I loved the simple conversations that are mentioned and all those words left unsaid.

What makes the story stand out for me though is the way it’s told – the use of language, how the words are displayed on each page and something you can only really understand by picking the book up yourself. The poetry alongside the memoir side to the book adds a different depth to the story and builds up on that ‘mix’ of the use of language being similar to the mix of nationalities.  

This was a truly fascinating read and I can see why it has been longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2020 and highly recommend picking up a copy for a different kind of reading experience.

★★★★

For more information about the Dylan Thomas Prize 2020 please click the link below…

THE SWANSEA UNIVERSITY DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE