Saturday, 2 September 2017

Strungballs by Mike Russell + Giveaway

Strungballs by Mike Russell
Published by Strange Books in November 2016.

How I got this book:
Won in a Facebook giveaway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Strungballs is an extraordinary novella from Strange Books author Mike Russell. What are Strungballs? Ten-year-old Sydney is about to find out... but first he must have a cube of his flesh removed. Sydney will transgress everything he was taught to believe in when he embarks upon a journey that will reveal the astonishing secrets hidden by the red balls on white strings known only as... Strungballs. Inspiring, liberating, otherworldly, magical, surreal, bizarre, funny, disturbing, unique... all of these words have been used to describe the stories of Mike Russell. Remember: Once a Strungball is inserted it must never be removed.

Strungballs is the first of Mike Russell's stories that I have read, but I am pretty sure it won't be the last! On one hand I was genuinely baffled by much of this surreal futuristic tale, however I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the bizarre world he created. Despite an obvious lack of detailed descriptions of place and character that I usually prefer - this is a short novella after all - I could easily envisage the clinical city and Sydney's spartan home as well as understanding and empathising with his parents' actions. After this early point, I guess the key to reading Strungballs is just to go with the flow!

I felt Russell made a strong statement about society's slavish devotion to ingrained ideas. We tend to follow the herd regardless of whether we truly understand what we are doing, why we do so, or the personal price involved. The flesh sphere reminded me of Anais Mitchell's Hadestown wall. Further than this though I can't say, partly for not wanting to prematurely reveal Russell's inventiveness to potential readers and partly because I just really don't know! I could think myself round in circles for hours with this story!

And now for the Giveaway!

The prize is a signed copy of Strungballs together with four small badges and a small Strange Books top hat poster. The giveaway is open worldwide until midnight (UK time) on the 16th of September. Entry is via the Gleam widget below and there's lots of easy ways to do so! I will pick a winner on the 17th September and they have 3 days to respond to my email otherwise the prize will be forfeit.
Good luck!

Strungballs by Mike Russell novella giveaway

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