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Book review: That Dark Remembered Day by Tom Vowler

Tom Vowler’s second novel, That Dark Remembered Day, opens with what could be a recurring nightmare: a boy on the cusp of young adulthood gets off the school bus in Spring 1983, full of hope and fuzzy expectations and, on his way home, walks into something that quickly shatters that child’s happy innocence forever.

The book then fast-forwards to Autumn 2012 and Stephen, a grown man with a family of his own and a job that stems from one of his passions. Unfortunately, unresolved anger issues and drinking are jeopardising everything: he’s been suspended from his job and his wife has told him that they can’t go on like this for much longer. Things appear to be quickly unravelling when he gets called back to his home town. He’s avoided going there in the past but now it seems as if he must return, not only to see his mother who’s unwell, but also finally to see if he can deal with what happened there in 1983.  

One of the reasons this book works so well is because Tom Vowler manages to sustain the suspense for so long. The reader deliberately isn’t told what the tragic event was until quite late on in the book and so can only guess at what happened, or how, and tweak their ideas each time they’re drip-fed further information. The slow reveal is brilliantly done and left this reader with just enough new information each time before another layer of the story was peeled away to reveal the next one. Even when I thought I knew what had transpired, it turned out that I didn’t have all the details and still needed to adjust how I was looking at things, when more was revealed. I found my attitudes towards the characters and their place in the story continuously shifting, which made for both a compelling and unsettling read.  Read more

The #WoMentoring Project

I’m excited to be helping to spread the word about a terrific free mentoring initiative run for women by women which launches today: The WoMentoring Project.

What’s it all about?

The WoMentoring Project exists to offer free mentoring by professional literary women to up and coming female writers who would otherwise find it difficult to access similar opportunities.

Each mentor selects their own mentee and it is at their discretion how little or much time they donate. We have no budget, it’s a completely free initiative and every aspect of the project – from the project management to the website design to the PR support – is being volunteered by a collective of female literary professionals. Quite simply this is about exceptional women supporting exceptional women. Welcome to The WoMentoring Project.The mission of The WoMentoring Project is simply to introduce successful literary women to other women writers at the beginning of their careers who would benefit from some insight, knowledge and support. The hope is that we’ll see new, talented and diverse female voices emerging as a result of time and guidance received from our mentors.

Why do we need it?

Like many great (and not so great) ideas The WoMentoring Project came about via a conversation on Twitter. While discussing the current lack of peer mentoring and the prohibitive expense for many of professional mentoring we asked our followers – largely writers, editors and agents – who would be willing to donate a few hours of their time to another woman just starting out. The response was overwhelming – within two hours we had over sixty volunteer mentors.

The WoMentoring Project is managed by novelist Kerry Hudson and all of our mentors are all professional writers, editors or literary agents. Many of us received unofficial or official mentoring ourselves which helped us get ahead and the emphasis is on ‘paying forward’ some of the support we’ve been given. Read more

World Poetry Day 2014: Greece

Today is World Poetry Day and I’m going to share a poem by a Greek poet, Phoebe Giannisi, who I recently discovered. I found her work on Greek Poetry Now! which I can recommend as a good place to go, if you’d like to read some great contemporary Greek poetry.

I’ve chosen it because it expresses exactly how I feel when I’m swimming laps, how swimming allows me to shrug off the outside world and any worries I may have, and how it frees up my mind. Although unlike the open-air swimmer in the poem, I usually have to make do with my local council pool. Which is fine but not quite the same…

(Penelope I _ am addicted to you) by Phoebe Giannisi Read more

World Book Day shelfie

It’s World Book Day today and there’s been a lot of bookish fun happening on Twitter and FB to celebrate. I’ve had some great booky conversations; I’ve also been to Cardiff libraries, in particular, Roath library, in order to find a copy of The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – because the copy I have is missing some 50 pages – or rather, instead of the 50 pages I was expecting, it had duplicated 50 pages from earlier in the book instead. I’m about to go and read those missing 50 pages now but before I do, I thought I’d share this WBD #shelfie.

These are my ‘Arthur Ransome’ shelves: all of his books in Cape hardback and audiocassette, books about his life, books and locations, and all the other books on the sea, sailing and pirates that his books set me off in search of once I’d finished reading and re-reading all of his Swallows and Amazons series. I started reading his books when I was nine and every so often, I still go back and re-read one now I’m old enough to be an Aged Parent and I  still find it hard to resist a book set in, on or around the sea or one about pirates or sailing.

Swallows and Amazons Forever! 

About Nut Press

Hello! I’m Kathryn Eastman and I’m a freelance writer and EFL tutor. The NUT Press is my online home.

About Me

I was born in Germany to a Welsh father and a Scottish mother, so that makes me confused/Celtic/British/still unable to speak fluent German.  I’ve lived in England, Germany, Greece and the United States and am currently based in South Wales, U.K.

About this site

I have a range of interests, so at some point you’ll no doubt read something about books, both reading and writing them; chocolate; writing news, competitions, events and prizes; chocolate; writing; rugby; squirrels; chocolate; music and photography, but other random topics might crop up in the mix.

Why’s it called the NUT Press?  Well, I’m lucky enough to have landed myself a squirrel muse (I know! Don’t you wish you were me?) who’s more often than not more of a hindrance.  His name’s Squizzey and if you’d like to check him out,  he has his own blog: SquizzBlog or you can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.  Anyway, the NUT Press seemed an obvious choice for that reason and the fact that having a range of interests seemed to be akin to there being an assortment of different nuts.

Reviewing

I review books that I simply enjoy reading and want to tell you about. If I didn’t enjoy a book or it wasn’t for me, I generally won’t review it. Apart from anything else, I read a lot and don’t get around to reviewing all of the books I enjoyed.

Writing

I’ve written articles, poems and short stories, some of which have been published in journals, magazines and newspapers. You can read a sample on this site. I’m currently editing my second novel while I try to find the first one a good home.

So, thanks for stopping by and reading and I would love to hear from you if you have any comments or questions. Just fill in the Contact Me form below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!