Saturday, 30 December 2017

Featured author of the month: Dani Brown

"With your forehead pointed towards the mirror, you squeeze. Pus sprays. Surprisingly, some gets in your hair. You ignore it and squeeze out a large green lump, which splats onto the mirror. Shortly followed by some smaller green pieces oozing out and dripping down your forehead. The pus feels warm and sticky on your face. The green lumps scratch. You can feel your skin breaking in the places exposed to them..."

So begins one of the opening chapters of Broccoli by Dani Brown, the self-proclaimed Queen of filth and my first Featured author of the month.
Broccoli is one of those most bizarre of books that seems to defy all description.
I suppose the closest I can come is by labelling it Bizarro, for it is certainly not extreme horror - there is no actual horror involved here, only physical repulsion - and the story tells the tale of one person who, through the course of the narrative, begins hallucinating and experiencing all manner of fever dreams, even as their body continues to break out in pus filled boils as they constantly continue to foul themself.
Right from them get-go, this book never pulls any punches.
The graphic, and often too-detailed, descriptions at first paint a grisly picture and though to begin with the reader finds themself feeling physically sick, after a while, the further you progress, the more numb you slowly begin to feel until finally you slowly start to realise something - this book is surprisingly actually very well written.

Dani Brown herself describes this as an 'experimental piece' and in her own words, says it was written 'to break as many writing rules as possible' and this she certainly achieves for, at times, this is a very hard book to read, but there is something compelling about it and it is this that keeps the reader reading to the end.

Told in the rarely-used second person narrative (so YOU did this, YOU did that), the book at times almost feels like an exercise in just how many ways you can describe bodily fluids, but at the same time manages to be a riotous trip as it follows the path of someone so ill, they actually find themselves starting to believe, and become convinced, that what they are seeing is real and that the things they are experiencing - however bizarre - are all actually happening to them.

One thing I always ask myself when I finish a novel is would I reccomend this? And the short answer to that question here is no, probably not - not because it is a bad book, because it isn't, but more because I'm not really all that sure what sort of reader I would recommend it to.
If you like having your boundaries pushed and your limits of taste tested, then this book is probably for you.
Everyone else should probably approach with caution.

I, for one, am going to go climb in the bath - because if there's one thing this book left me feeling, it was dirty and honestly, I think that was the point.
Certainly, judging from this at least, Dani's title as Queen of filth is well deserved and, for now at least, perfectly safe...

I'll be posting more about Dani later this month....for now, I'm just going to go scrub myself clean while I gently rock myself in the bath and try to forget everything I just read.


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