December 24, 2008

Sam Mills - Books of the Year (and a film)

The Books
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
I read this after God’s Own Country by Ross Raisin – another book I’ve enjoyed this year. Both employ idiosyncratic narrative voices from the point of view of young men. Ness’s book has been published as a Young Adult novel, but in many respects it’s the more sophisticated of the two. Please don’t let the teen tag put you off – once you start reading this book, you’ll discover an utterly fresh voice you’ve never come across before.

The Butt and Liver by Will Self
In an era where creative writing courses seem to be steering writers towards a recognisably uniform, pared-down prose style, Will Self’s verbose, sesquipedalian prose seems increasingly anarchic and unique. He’s my favourite writer, and he is still on top form.

Beat The Reaper by Josh Bazell
Strictly speaking, this wasn’t published in 08 – it comes out next year. When I started reading a proof I was convinced I wouldn’t like it - thrillers aren’t my usual thing. I ended up reading the whole book in a day. It’s a brilliant pageturner and also extremely clever and quirky – the texts is littered with hilarious footnotes. You will find yourself learning bizarre but intriguing facts about sharks, modern medicine and World War II along the way – as well as the most ridiculous and extraordinary way of killing someone in a fight when you are naked and locked in a freezer with no weapons.

The Film
I caught this Korean film by off chance – it was showing for one night at the Manchester Cornerhouse. It’s such an unusual and enigmatic film that it’s almost impossible to describe, and I also think the less you know about it, the more powerful the film is. It’s moving, and funny, and romantic, and frightening, and surprises you at every turn. The ending left me feeling elated for several days…

Sam Mills is the author of the Young Adult novels The Boys Who Saved The World and A Nicer Way to Die. She is now working on her first novel for adults.

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