Monthly Archives: June 2014

Escape Kit

Here is a good friend’s post on a book that I would enjoy so I thought I’d pas it along. K

The Automatic Cat

I’m more familiar with William Thirsk-Gaskill’s poetry than his prose. The self-confessed ‘socially inept Northerner,’ ‘the lost love-child of Ted Hughes and Alan Bennet,’ is a very fine poet, and I’m delighted to discover that he’s also a fine fiction writer.

Escape Kit is a novella in five parts and it’s a little gem. It revolves around four characters – fourteen-year-old Bradley, who’s travelling from York to Stevenage to visit his grandparents; his parents, Celia and Edmund, who have recently parted; and a man who is escaping from a German prisoner-of-war camp.

It would be unforgiveably spoilery to tell you exactly how all this fits together – there’s one beautifully-constructed reveal in particular – but it fits together with the precision of a Swiss watch. The characters are very well-drawn, each voice distinct, the prose is economical and unshowy. There’s no fat on the story at all.

It’s a very…

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