PrintE-mail Written by Jennie Bailey

“. . . I am trying to be more positive.  I’m trying to remember to breathe.  I’m trying to remember why I started this adventure.”

We’re going to cut straight to the chase: this novel is WELL confusing.

No, no, don’t pass over this review; this is a book that seems to relish in its joyful bonkersness. The plot - we think it’s safe to call it that - is supposed to be about Jonathan (or John) Tamberlein, who is also known as ‘Tomahawk’, a food critic who sort of channels Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, and is a little bit like an intergalactic Jay Rayner. Tomahawk calls himself a ‘forensic gastronomer’ setting out on a quest to right culinary wrongs and find the famed Hotel Grand Skies.

Well, we think this is what this book is about, however, other narratives weave in and out that mess around with time, space, and place, so that this writer wasn’t sure at times which were relevant, but they were nevertheless enjoyable interventions. There is a kind of poetic, hypnotic beauty to this novel which is incredibly surreal, almost psychedelic in places with its House of Leaves style montages, textual collages, imagined maps of the universe, and some Rorschach-esque inkblots. (I see a butterfly, if you see some rampaging stabbing then do write in - we may, or may not, pass your details on to the relevant authorities!) 

Written by journalist and satirist Matt Suddain, Hunters & Collectors is Suddain’s second book that continues his innovative use of collaging, montage, and surreal plot line(s) some of which were established in his first novel Theatre of the Gods. This is a book that pushes boundaries, and, like his previous novel, does not fit neatly into any generic recipe: it’s a dash of speculative fiction here, a sprinkle of detective thriller there, and as sweary as Gordon Ramsey.

Hunters & Collectors is incredibly high-concept which may slice and dice your brain as fine as a Masterchef onion. It’s very clever, but just about resists being knowingly so, and Suddain’s narrative devices are well executed. It's an exciting book and should be as huge as the book itself.




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