Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers on the Attend by West Craven blog tour. If you are looking for a novel thats highly original, yet captivating then I may have the perfect book for you. Read on for my thoughts….
When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.
There’s nothing more exciting than picking up a novel that comes with a unique and spellbinding plot, a novel that consumes your every waking minute, and yet you find yourself reluctant to carry on reading it as you don’t want it to end, and Attend by West Camel is one of those novels. Oh how I adored this book, rather like enigmatic seamstress Deborah’s sewing, this novel is rich in detail, with its threads expertly woven, resulting in a captivating read that is told in the most lyrical way. This is a book that refuses to fit into one particular genre, and I mean that in a positive way, it’s part gritty crime thriller, yet there is also a magical quality hidden within its pages.
Attend is the story of three people, Deborah a seamstress, Anne an ex drug addict and Sam whose coming to terms with his own sexuality, each has their own personal challenges. The author has created three very different characters but their stories intertwine, Deborah being the thread that binds them together. The setting of Deptford, London is perfectly depicted and so vividly described, it’s not a pretty picture, as within the shadows of the town lie the darker elements of town life, the violence and addiction that go hand with the seedier and murky criminal fraternity, a world that both Anne and Sam know only to well.
Craven has created characters that are rich in personality, and unforgettable. Dorothy is a character who evokes strong emotions, there’s something that makes you feel desperately sorry for her, she’s someone who deserves to have an abundance of happiness and love and yet that’s something that appears to be just outside her reach. There’s a sadness and an overwhelming sense of loneliness that radiates from Dorothy, as her story unfolds you realise why. When Anne and Sam become part of Dorothy’s life she shares her stories, some see far-fetched, even elaborate and fairy like in there telling, but these are the tales that magically bind the three together. Dorothy’s stories are rich in description and beautifully told, and then you have the strands of Anne and Sam’s stories which are both dark and gritty in their telling.
Attend is so different to many of my previous reads, and I’m not sure the pace or the plot will be to everyone’s taste, it’s definitely not action packed, this is a novel driven by its characters. Personally I found Attend to be a memorising read, the setting, the characters and the story line make this novel such an unusual and compelling read. West Camel writes with confidence, he breathes magic into the story he is telling, his characters come alive but best of all Attend is highly original which is always a good thing. Highly recommended.
- Print Length: 276 pagesU
- Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; None edition (15 Nov. 2018)
About the author
Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel. You can follow West on Twitter @west_camel
My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books and Anne Cater for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Follow the blog tour……..