Tim Etchells (AndOtherStories)
Mashing together the digital, geographical and linguistic morphologies of modern Britain and the world-at-large, Tim Etchells’ Endland is a funny, dark series of fairy tales and parables designed to disorient and engage the reader in equal measure. Baited in by familiar phrases and situations, one is thrown for a loop by the anachronisms of a world collapsing inwards: Olympian gods named after fizzy drinks; wars and conflicts happening in the wrong places, at the wrongs times; gothic folktales playing out near your local Tesco’s. Etchells’ stated goal is to test the limits of reader engagement by introducing them to a familiar world teeming with originality while providing atom-thin exposition, and it’s clear that his many years toying with this format have paid dividends.
Etchells’ funny and regular use of asides and parentheses work hard to make you feel in on the joke he’s telling or the fable he’s weaving, and even during the most bizarre or irreverent of stories one never feels truly at sea. Mentions of Brexit on the blurb may do this book a disservice, but readers weary of all things EU need not worry – the book isn’t overt or proselytising. It is at times garish, gross and unapologetic, so don’t expect a forgiving read.
Unforgiving, comical and redemptive, Endland is a poll tax riot at the gates of Elysium. The reader will feel as though they’ve slipped in to a timeline not entirely unlike our own, left with just enough recognition to keep barely abreast of the story as it develops.
words JOHN MCLOUGHLIN
Price: £11.99 Info: www.andotherstories.org