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REVIEW Fen by Daisy Johnson

Daisy Johnson’s Fen is a liminal land Real people live their lives here They wrestle with familiar instincts with sex and desire with everyday routine But the w. Remember about the albatrosses We got one on our trail now I didn t know what it was when I saw it It was too big to be anything real I keep thinking about them carrying dead sailors around them I am ashamed to say that I was completely ignorant of the existence of this book It wasn t included in any of the recommending reading lists I receive and I hadn t read any review of it on Goodreads I had the luck to become aware of it after a suggestion by the wonderful Jen Campbell in one of her lovely videos that contain treasure for the lovers of haunting fiction And I searched high and low until I found it And when I read it I knew I was suddenly holding one of the best books I ve read this yearThis is a collection of short stories by Daisy Johnson connected by the theme of desire loss and the Otherness in every shape and form and the way we experience these notions particularly during our teenage and early adult years Here we have a girl that transforms herself into an eel Three alluring female vampires are in trouble when they start acting like their unfortunate highly edible victims A house comes alive out of jealousy and vindictiveness A young man returns to his wife The problem is that he was deadA sailor s pregnant wife reaches her limits surrounded by the fisherman s superstitions A mother with a strange and very familiar offspring who wishes to take unto himself the sins of the world Three siblings share a dark twisted fate that would put the Lannister House to shame A woman reminisces on her life while waiting her blind date A lighthouse keeper is obsessed with a sea creature These are some of the stories included in this haunting collection My favourites are Starving Blood Rites Language The Superstition of Albatross A Heavy Devotion The ScatteringMy first uestion was why Fen Why naming the book Fen What is the symbolism So I did my homework and connected my limited knowledge on the subject to new information and everything made a lot sense I knew that Fensalir was the dwelling of Frigg the Norse goddess of Wisdom and Foresight A domain of bogs marshes and springs And naturally most of us know Fenrir Loki s monstrous offspring that tries to exact revenge for its mistreatment And then I discovered that the beautiful fen is associated with water and mists The Fens landscape extending from Cambridge to Lincolnshire is a marshland interrupted by tiny communities of fishermen It s a land steeped in legends and stories of the paranormal The Will o the Wisp the Black Hound called the Black ShuckThink of The Hound of the Baskervilles and you ll get the picture herefore Folk elements exist throughout the stories And fens are everywhere There is obsession sexual passion the notion of virginity the desire to be different the trouble of being a teenager The writing is exceptional Cryptic poetic haunting There is a distinct haziness as if a mist is hovering over the stories everything is blurry and grey The reader needs to read between the lines see behind the sentences and try to decipher any conclusion that may be there And this is exactly the kind of uality that makes Fen such a mesmerizing uniuely beautiful book It definitely reminded me of Jen Campbell s The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night but in a darker and much twisted almost sinister wayIs this a book for everyone No it isn t It reuires us to suspend all disbelief to be attracted to bleak twisted dark choices But if you want to experience a uniue way of writing and if you love short stories with characters that could easily be protagonists in their novels then Fen is right there for you And in my humble opinion it s a masterpiece of the genreMy reviews can also be found on

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Fen by Daisy Johnson

Ild is always close at hand ready to erupt This is a place where animals and people commingle and fuse where curious metamorphoses take place where myth and dark. I came to this book after reading Daisy Johnson s wonderful Everything Under a book I described alliteratively as a literary novel of the liminal language leaving and legend longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker prize Many reviews of that book have I feel concentrated on the legend part an even within that legend part on the Greek legend whose plot underlies the novel and looking for other Greek parallels whereas I saw the other elements of eual importance and the legend part as drawing on a modern range of English countryside or perhaps accurately waterside legendMy thoughts lead me to this book the author s debut book a short story collection Like Everything Under its main setting is the rivers and landwater boundaries of an area near an English ancient university but in this case of a light rather than dark blue hueHaving spent the first 17 years of my life in South West Norfolk and following a brief Thames estuary break the next four years in Cambridge the foundational part of my life was spent in areas which bounded the Fens the eponymous district in which this collection is set where water becomes land and land can lie below water and where the dark earthy soil is heavy and fertile It is an area which has featured in Graham Swift s Waterland which while a very different book has in common that the Fens themselves almost end up a character and has a slight obsession with eels and is the historical setting for Paul Kingsnorth s wonderful The WakeThe distinctiveness of this collection is set from the first story what at first seems to be a tale of teenage anorexia turns into a story of land drainage and transformation into an eel and is followed by a story of men eating women who are then possessed by the men they eat and then by a jealous house and later by a new mother who experiences the visitation of a sailor s superstition and by a woman fashioned from the Fen earth and magical beliefThemes in this collection include transitions boundaries sexuality earth and mud water rivers boats and barges metamorphosis and shapeshifting legend English folklore and ancient magic grounded in the landscape language and the power of words Immediately the inspiration and ground work should that be water and earth work for Everything Under is apparent and this collection serves both as a fascinating book in its own right as well as a great way to understand Daisy Johnson s interests as a writer

Daisy Johnson ã 7 SUMMARY

Magic still linger So here a teenager may starve herself into the shape of an eel A house might fall in love with a girl A woman might give birth to a – well wh. I listened to this on Lavar Burton reads ReadingRainbowforAdults

10 thoughts on “Fen by Daisy Johnson

  1. says:

    ‘’Remember about the albatrosses? We got one on our trail now I didn’t know what it was when I saw it It was

  2. says:

    A collection of short stories as a literary debut which are really difficult to classify but are impressive They are set in the fens The fenlands cover parts of East Anglia Cambridgeshire and southern Lincolnshi

  3. says:

    Daisy Johnson's first novel Everything Under was one of the highlights of this year's Man Booker longlist so I was very keen to get h

  4. says:

    I came to this book after reading Daisy Johnson’s wonderful Everything Under – a book I described alliteratively as a “literary novel of the liminal language leaving and legend longlisted for the 2018 Man Bo

  5. says:

    I read Fen on the back of the 2018 Booker shortlisted Everything Under Fen was written some two years previously Its a collection of short stories and had received praise from a relatively small number of reader

  6. says:

    It is going to be very difficult to knock this off the spot of best book of the year for me I have always enjoyed books set around harsh landscapes am I the only person to find Wuthering Heights a 'cosy' novel? and that is

  7. says:

    I listened to this on Lavar Burton reads #ReadingRainbowforAdults

  8. says:

    Some nice writing but this was unfortunately another letdown for me though if magical realism is your thing you might find some stories to enjoy here For me the stories ended up being pretty repetitive with protagonists which became interchangeable as the collection went on Like some other reviewers have mentio

  9. says:

    It is a debut collection by a loosely related short stories They are all set in the east part of England with its plains canals river estuaries and pylons distorting the horizontality of the place Miss Johnston’s artistic

  10. says:

    A surreal and slightly magical collection of short stories Talking foxes possessive houses relationships monsters and A treat of a collection

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Tessa Young is an 18 year old college student with a simple life, excellent grades, and a sweet boyfriend She always has things planned out ahead of time, until she meets a rude boy named Harry, with too many tattoos and piercings who shatters her plans.