Book review: Gotham by Nick Earls

Friday, April 29, 2016 Permalink

From the media release:

Five Novellas released each month from May 2016, all individual, all linked in subtle and intriguing ways…

The novella is disturbing the literary waters and I&B is stirring the ripples with Wisdom Tree: five pocket-sized, richly intelligent novellas by the internationally renowned Nick Earls.

These novellas explore what it’s like to be a twenty-first century family; a century of unpredictability, celebrity and terrorism. Each story stands on its own yet each deepens the others with links in characters and themes. Subtly linked, Wisdom Tree explores how humans relate to one another, what makes a family, and what makes us human. Each book satisfies, while drawing readers toward a big ‘a-ah’ in the closing moments of novella #5 Noho.

Superbly written, Wisdom Tree is the accessible form for twenty-first century time poor, screen devoted readers. It declares the novella’s coming of age and proves it is no longer an in-betweener, but the prescient literary form of our time.

The slow release of Wisdom Tree will begin in May 2016 with the last novella released in September. A deluxe set of the entire collection will be available in time for Christmas.

Nick Earls’ novels have won awards in the UK and Australia, and appeared on bestseller lists in both those countries and the Amazon Kindle Store. Two have been adapted into feature films and five into stage plays.”

The first novella to be released is Gotham.

Book review: Gotham by Nick EarlsGotham
by Nick Earls
Series: Wisdom Tree #1
Published by Inkerman & Blunt
on May 1st 2016
Genres: Humour, Literary Fiction
ISBN: 9780992498580
Pages: 130

From me:

In Gotham we meet music journalist / freelancer Jeff Foster who’s in New York about to interview 19yr old Na$ti Boi (aka Lydell Luttrell Jr).

Earls is a confident writer so Foster is well drawn and could be any number of music writers and journalists. He’s got street cred and knows how to play the game. He’s old for the business he suggests – at the ripe old age of 40!!!

Earls referenced Foster’s first visit to New York, which I wasn’t sure was entirely necessary but did add some context and let us know he’d never really bought into a lot of the glamour of fame and fortune, and couldn’t give a shit about Bloomingdale’s little brown bags. We also learn he’s been with (then girlfriend, now wife) Lindsay since then.

I loved that Earls wasn’t tempted to go down the cliched route and have Na$ti Boi be hiding a more evolved and complex soul. He wasn’t a genius stuck in a 19yr old body. He could be any rapper or young pop star of today… dealing with sudden wealth and wanting to emulate those he really shouldn’t.

Nevertheless we get sucked in… hoping for that glimpse of humanity or humility. We’re poised and waiting for the twist in which we discover the Jay-Z and Drake wannabe is really a kind-hearted genius who just fakes his interest in hoes and pussy.

We see Na$ti Boi through Foster’s world-weary eyes and sardonic sense of humour.

Each anecdote is brief and unexamined. If he stares too closely at any of this big life it might disappear.

He wants the present to write over the past, firmly and grandly. I am to judge him for his now, yet it’s the journey to now that’s of interest to me. p 39/53*

We’re privy, however, to a couple of occasions on which the bravado slips and we’re reminded Na$ti IS just a 19yr old boy being chaperoned by Smokey, his manager and second cousin.

And suddenly Earls takes us in a new direction. It’s unbidden and we’re wallowing in the cynical world of new-found fame and money. So it’s a shock. And Earls does it well.

I re-read the end of the novella when writing this review… and cried again. They were bittersweet tears as it’s as devastating as it is hopeful.

Earls knows how to spin a yarn. I was seriously hooked before I had any idea where the book was going. And I cannot wait for the next instalment.

Gotham by Nick Earls is available from 1 May 2016.

I received a copy of this novella for review from the author’s publicist.

* My electronic version of this book had 53 pages, so I’m not sure what page the quote is on in other versions.

  • mamagrace71
    May 2, 2016

    What a great idea to release the instalments each month! Sounds like a fascinating read too. I’ll go over to my Kindle and download it.

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