Review: Let Them Eat Chaos – Kate Tempest

030 - Let Them Eat Chaos

030 - Let Them Eat Chaos

Rating – 3*

I’ve been really in the mood for poetry as of late, and I’ve had this book on my shelf for quite some time, just waiting for the right moment. I’ve loved both of her previous poetry books. This is going to be a short and sweet review as, honestly, I don’t have much to say on it unfortunately.

This poem – for it’s one long poem much like Brand New Ancients was – was created to be read aloud and I think the fact I didn’t do that is probably the reason I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as her previous poetry work that I’ve read.

The pretext of this is actually quite fantastic – it follows several people in a flat block in South London at 4:18 am. For one reason or another, each of these individuals are awake at this time and we follow their stories as to why. So the premise is good, I just really didn’t enjoy the execution of it.

Unfortunately for me this just missed the mark. I think maybe it’s one of those poems I may have benefited from listening to or reading aloud myself – neither of which I was able to do when I picked it up during an insomnia fuelled night at around midnight! I really didn’t find any way of connecting with this like others have.

I can’t say it was bad because it wasn’t. I think it’s just geared up to a very specific kind of reader and I’m just not that of that kind of reader. At this point I’m not sure what I’ll be doing with her work in the future as both this and her novel missed the mark for me! I guess it’ll be a case of wait and see.

 

Review: The Bricks that Built the Houses – Kate Tempest

42 - The Bricks That Built the Houses

Rating – 3*

I went in to this book blind, having read both of Tempest’s poetry books published I knew I had to give her turning her hand to prose a go. It was, as expected, glorious. Tempest’s background in rapping and poetry is evident in this book with the way she writes her prose, it’s lyrical and when reading it I couldn’t help but find a light rhythm to her words in places.

Ultimately, this book follows the lives of Harry and Becky – although Leon is mentioned in the blurb he has a much less prominent role. Along the way we meet and array of characters, we learn their stories and each one has a part in the forming of the people that Harriet and Becky are today. Even though the plot, what little of it there was, didn’t really resound with me I felt like I knew Becky and Harry, and all the people we were introduced to over the course of it, simply because she has such a grasp on people.

What Tempest excels at in this novel is her depiction of family dynamics. The way in which she paints the characters, and the overlaps and intersections of their lives are definitely her strength. She really just gets the human psyche, each character – and there are plenty – is unique and has their own voice; and yet it is still her voice which resounds.

This is definitely a character study, if you want a plot driven book this probably isn’t the one for you. While the plot is rather thin, and I love a plot driven book, this was a nice break in pace of my usual reads. I just found myself longing for more prose, and less dialogue (as anyone who has read my blog for some time now will know, I’m not a big fan of dialogue in books which can be quite unfortunate!)

As debut novels go, this as a good one. It didn’t engage me as fully as I had hoped, if there were more prose I would have easily given this 4*, however as it stands I feel it has to be a 3* – and a lowish one at that. I loved it, don’t get me wrong, it just wasn’t quite my cup of tea. I really can’t wait to see what she does next, this woman is seriously talented!