Sarah O'Connor

Writer – Playwright – Cannot Save You From The Robot Apocalypse

I received this book from The Next Best Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

“Shafts of afternoon light rained through oak and willow and eycalyptus, the boys’ small faces stippled with fine golden sunspots as though behind lacework mourning veils knitted from shadow…Neither spoke,” (Maes 1).

I didn’t know what this book was about going in. The back of the book featured only a quote from another author praising Newborn, and another on Goodreads sharing a quote from the book. So I put together that there was a creek, that something was discovered there in a Stephen King coming of age way. So I went in blind, and I think you should do.

That being said, I will share what my first thoughts were before I even opened the front cover because I think they’re funny. I saw the title, I saw the font, and my mind immediately went to Twilight and vampires. A slight spoiler that this book is about neither of those things, but it was all I could think about whenever I looked at this book on my desk.

Truthfully though Newborn is something else. The prose is written so beautifully, Maes creates such a clear image of the creek and the characters he is showing readers. The horror is such a subtle creeping that overtakes and consumes that I couldn’t stop myself from reading. The characters are each so individual from one another and so intriguing. It’s horrifying, tragic, filled with pathos while also, somehow, being moving and creating a deep care and empathy for what’s happening. All these things together shouldn’t work, or should be an impossible thing to do all at once, but Maes does it!

My copy also came with a strange, slightly out of focus photograph of a person with a note from the author thanking me for reading. I definitely thought the photo would be part of the story in the same vein that J. J. Abrams The Ship of Theseus has some off tidbits littered throughout, but (slight spoiler) it seems Maes just gifted me a photo with a kind note on it. I plan to keep it in my copy of Newborn for whenever a future re-read comes.

Newborn was such a compelling read, and I’m shocked not more people know about it. Gorgeously written and being able to get the reader to really feel what’s happening, this is a book you don’t want to miss!

49795719Publication: February 1st 2020
Publisher: Whiskey Tit
Pages: 112 pages (Paperback)
Source: TNBBC (Thanks Lori!)
Genre: Fiction, Novella, Horror
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤

“Shafts of afternoon light rained through oak and willow and eucalyptus, the boys’ small faces stippled with fine golden sunspots as though behind lacework mourning veils knitted from shadow. They stood side-by-side at the edge of a broad yawn of creekbed, eyes bound to what they had discovered there amongst sedge and blackberry and wild rye. Neither spoke. But for birdsong and the muted hum of cars along the nearby avenue it was quiet, the creek gurgling softly in its summer-thinned course. A mizzle of sunbeams shone across the water in fingernail crescents, quick lustrous flashes where an overturned shopping cart formed a mounded swell. The boys remained in fainter light, motionless beside the small still pool of an inlet shaded by the steep bank’s tangle of tree roots. Water skimmers skated over the pond’s glassy surface, the insects’ needle-thin legs dimpling the youngsters’ reflections and the reflection of the infant at their feet, its image little more than a wavering smudge. ‘Jesus, ‘ one of them whispered…”.”What a gift, what a glorious incantation! Each sentence, each segment in NEWBORN is a stone dropped in a pond of still, deep water awash in quiet reverberation. Like Chekhov or the legendary German writer Wolfgang Hilbig, Maes writes with uncommon lyricism and precision as he traverses the rugged emotional terrain.”–Gina Ochsner”The kind of imagination evidenced by a story such as his is a reminder of what a magic trick really fine writing can be.”

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