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The Whale Tattoo

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As the novel’s first-person narrator, Joe’s story is also told in a non-linear fashion perfectly consistent with the young man’s befuddled nature.

I did enjoy this chapter but struggled a bit to put it into the context of the story as a whole ,the characters were the same as the rest of the novel but since the scene was supposed to be set in 1988 they were the wrong age . Speech isn't clearly delineated, isn't often assigned to particular speakers, and can sometimes feel stylised. But she can't help him, she drowned two years earlier, even though he still talks to her as if she never went away. While he struggles to move beyond that incriminating day, he starts up a romantic relationship with one of his aunt Dreama's field-hands, Jimmy Smart, while also trying to better understand how he perceives himself differently from other men and why his feminine sensibilities are one that draw scorn and ridicule from the discerning eyes of his peers.Ransom's fractured, distinctive prose highlights the beauty and brutality of his story, his extraordinarily vivid sense of place saturates the reader with the wet of the river, and the salty tang of the heaving sea. Adam Farrer won the 2021 Northbound Book Award with Cold Fish Soup, a darkly hilarious non-fiction debut, forming a memoir out of essays about life in a downtrodden Yorkshire coastal town. The Big Issue’s award-winning journalism covers the angles and stories you won’t see in the daily news. Joe has fallen into the compulsory life of a seaman that traps so many like him in his small coastal town.

Jon Ransom won the Polari First Novel Prize for his debut “ The Whale Tattoo” (2022) which I really enjoyed giving it four stars and describing it as “ dark, raw and relentlessly gritty. And I blame the blurb - 'Three men bound together in a blistering story that spans 30 years, from 1953 into the 1980s and the AIDS epidemic' - which sadly didn't even cover up half of what this premise promised to depict. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. Joe’s life takes horrid turns but the reader never loses sight of the potential for growth, making The Whale Tattoo a surprisingly enjoyable and cathartic read.With assured narrative, a vivid sense of place and atmosphere, and flint-sharp dialogue, Jon Ransom has written a novel that is bleak and brutal, but never sentimental. Set against the decaying edge lands of East Anglia, with a declining fishing industry and poverty nipping hard at everyone's heels, this is extremely bleak and quite abstract in many ways.

Jon Ransom speaks to comedian and podcaster Cariad Lloyd about his book, writing queer voices and the bond between siblings.Soon, the love that they each have in their lives overflows into hate that may very well destroy them. This book felt reminiscent of something like a Max Porter or an Andrew Michael Hurley — at the same time shot through with shades of Douglas Stuart.

I saw Jon Ransom at the Hay Festival and was so interested in his story and how he wrote The Whale Tattoo, on bus journeys to and from work, and to and from hospital.

Jon Ransom’s The Whale Tattoo is a haunting debut novel set in a Norfolk seaside town brimming with bottled up resentment.

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