Europa. Feb. 2023. 208p. ISBN 9781609458171. $25. F
DEBUT This first work of fiction by poet Goddard (whose poetry collection For the Chorus was a William Blake Prize runner-up) reads as a purposefully poetic novel. The ongoing series of descriptive phrases paint the interior mental space of a narrator, seemingly male, who waxes poetic about his lover, seemingly female. Descriptions of various sex acts involving a candle inject an interestingly offbeat charge into the narrative. A slew of successive free-verse couplets describe a typical lovelorn obsession in a somewhat atypical way; the intense level of description and analysis devoted to domestic life creates a novel frisson. A little more than halfway through the exegesis, the hourglass turns, and the couple split up. There proceeds a much more satisfying anti-panegyric about the endurance of loss and suffering and various bizarre coping strategies. The description in this section is much more brutally honest, including a studied critique of wage slavery. The way the narrator engages with the breakup is both captivatingly described and depressingly authentic, creating a Bukowski-esque feeling of complete revelry in lonely desolation.
VERDICT This interesting take on novel writing creates a world of studied introspection, mixed with social commentary, that will appeal to lovers of language and patient readers of incisive ennui; recommended for fans of the author and of all things literary.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing