Thursday 1 November 2018

Flames - Robbie Arnott

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: November 1st 2018 by Atlantic Books (first published 2018)
For review

My Thoughts
The Blurb does tell the entire story, and at the same time not. This is also one of those books that are hard to review because words are not always enough. Some books you have to experience.

It is magical realism. It is folklore coming to life.

There is a fisherman who hunts with the help of a seal. A beautiful story about a friendship. He does the same thing fishermen always have done there, and they do it well. It is also a sad story that had me sad.

Then comes the story of a young man who wants to build a coffin. He is obsessed with building a coffin so that his sister will not be cremated.  Because the women in his family come back to life, only for a short time and they are built from the foundation of their island.

The water rat who is in love with a cloud was my favorite and even this one was sad. Poor little powerful fellow.

Then there is this crazy old guy, this was not  a favorite of mine, but I liked how it wove all the stories together. Because they are all connected.

It's also the story of the sister. The father. And a new future.

Magic is stories, magic is in bedded in the foundation of our minds and I like how it is there, but it is normal. No one bats an eye over it. And most things are not even known. He makes it seem so real so plausible. Like nature itself still holds power here and always will.

It might seem like many stories, but it in one story. A short, yet powerful story of love, loss and the magic that flows through stories. An interesting novel. 

If I would describe it short; one of those that wins awards for its writing.

It starts with a fisherman hunting for tuna, his sidekick a young seal as fast as quicksilver, a relationship forged in blood and fishmeat, but broken by the black heft of the sea; then a young man whose mother burned up outside, the scorch marks still on the grass, who fears the same fate for his sister so builds her a coffin, even though she’s still breathing and very much alive; a water rat swimming upriver, a god in his element until he finds that some gods are more powerful than others; a flock of cormorants, pecking out the eyes of the slow-witted wombats on a local farm, and the sad old man who swears bloody vengeance; and more, and more, until it ends with a fisherman, who used to hunt for tuna, with a seal for a sidekick, as fast as quicksilver… 


  1. Intriguing there and I confess that ti's new to me

  2. Probably not for me with all the magical realism.

  3. The magical fantasy stories seem to always have a sad note to them. Glad the writing was beautiful and the story powerful. Great review! :)

    1. That they do! I never though of it like that

  4. Well this sounds unique. A rat in love with a cloud??? I am curious to know more!

  5. A rat in love with a cloud. You know that's the one that sounded the best to me.

    1. LOL!. But yes, I did not even think of that

  6. *Mind... blown* WOW! It sounds fascinating... I hate that it's sad, but sounds like so much more! Thanks!!

    1. It was so hard to explain cos it was weird, and weirdly good

  7. Magic realism does not always work for me, I confess. Too weird, in many cases! But this sounds interesting.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  8. Oooo! It has been a hot moment since I read a Magical Realism book

  9. Interesting....the rat and the cloud story sounds like the best one :-)

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. SO beautiful and tragic. It has to be read



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