It is a nightmare... it gives me the jim-jams.” So wrote Charles Prentice, Samuel Beckett’s editor, upon receipt of this singular work.
‘Echo’s Bones’ was intended to conclude his collection of interrelated short stories ‘More Pricks Than Kicks’, but by comparison to those absurd but essentially straightforward tales, ‘Echo’s Bones’ truly is enough to give anyone the jim-jams.
A triptych of surreal conversations between Belacqua Shuah, a dead man, and the people he encounters in a strange state of limbo, the text features no discernible narrative or logic, yet is nevertheless a fascinating stream-of-consciousness, so dense with word-play and literary allusion that the end-notes run longer than the story itself. It also features insightful annotations by Mark Dixon, and amusing excerpts from the correspondence between the author and his bemused editor.
It’s not the most accessible entry point for anyone new to Beckett’s work, but for scholars and aficionados, it is a must.
‘Echo’s Bones’ by Samuel Beckett is published in hardback by Faber & Faber, priced £20 (eBook £12.99).
Who is Tom Ditto? is the second novel from achingly-charming author, journalist, presenter and all round good egg, Danny Wallace.
Tom is the mildly depressive early morning newsreader of a local London radio station. So far, so innocuous. Everything changes for our humdrum hero when he is suddenly abandoned by his long-term girlfriend who - despite appearances - insists she has not left him and instructs Tom to go on with life as normal.
That sees Tom following strangers through the streets of the capital and peeking into the lives of others.
Wallace’s characters are relatable, well-observed oddballs written against a familiar urban backdrop that’ll have you rapt. The novel is laugh-out-loud funny, an easy and yet artfully penetrating read. Grab a copy and enjoy with the specially brewed Tom Ditto IPA this summer.
Who Is Tom Ditto? by Danny Wallace, published in hardback by Ebury Press, £12.99 (eBook £6.49).