Already in receipt of a plethora of positive reviews, Mischief Acts by Zoe Gilbert sees mythical figure Herne the hunter careening through the centuries, pursued in turn by his own creator. Throughout this journey, Herne is able to shapeshift, taking on various disguises and donning different personas. His essential energy remains the same, however – he is a ‘mischief-maker’, an interstitial force who leaps across boundaries cheerfully transgresses norms, and eases, here and there, into delightful episodes of debauchery, with ‘nymphs’ of all descriptions.
A little bit David Bowie in his chameleonic charisma, with a touch of Jim Morrison, perhaps, the character imagined here can’t help but charm the reader, but it’s Gilbert’s effortless, imaginative prose that is the true delight, for it’s just as stylish and suave as the central protagonist. Chapters are titled after songs from down the ages, encapsulating the tale’s lighthearted, lyrical sense, and also open with ‘charms’ that give a wonderful sense of magick in the everyday. The first chapter, moreover, is in poetry rather than prose, affirming Gilbert’s inventiveness and ability to move between forms.
Mischief Acts is charming, naughty, epic, adventurous, mystical, beautifully penned, and incredibly good fun to read – do so as soon as you can.
Mischief Acts, Zoe Gilbert (Bloomsbury)
Price: £16.19/£12.59 Ebook. Info: here
words MAB JONES
APPLICATIONS for spring term 22 are now Closed: If you’re 18-30, live in Wales, and want to get ahead in the creative and cultural industries, express your interest for autumn term.