Friday, 24 February 2012

Tartare - FREE on Amazon 24/02 - 26/02

Willpower will get you so far and then it'll get you killed. 

If you like raw meat, cat-hunting, goat-napping, nicotine-deprivation-induced hallucinations, drunken Tourettes, accidental dwarf murder, botched suicide, KC and the Sunshine Band and the most bizarre curry recipe ever? Then you may enjoy Tartare by M Trevelean. 

If you don't? You're a normal upstanding member of the human race. Bad luck.

Tartare is available to download free of charge on Amazon from Friday 24 - Sunday 26th February.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Tartare - First Goodreads review

Here is the first review for my novel 'Tartare' - written and reviewed by Goodreads member Simon Forward.

What a difference a book makes. While my previous read - some lifeless vampire piffle - drained my will to live, this was the kind of book that re-ignites my passion for both reading and writing. Tartare is an inspired tour de farce that takes us on a twisted spiral of a journey through the world of addiction. I originally read a handful of sample chapters back on the HarperCollins authonomy website and it was one of the true standouts then. The impressions endured so as soon as I saw that the author had made it available on Kindle, I leaped at the chance to read it, much like its protagonist, Edgar Ferrol, leaps at - well, that would be spoiling it for you. Fair warning, it's not cosy, it's not cuddly, it'll send more sensitive souls running to the relative comfort of a night of Frankie Boyle stand-up. And yet, despite the popularity of edgier comics, this was never going to appeal to the risk-averse, safety-first publishing industry. Which is a recommendation in itself.

It's often customary to offer some sort of comparison with other authors, but the closest I can come up with is Iain Banks, back before I lost faith in him with The Business. But yeah, maybe if Banks was on his best form and wrote the movie Delicatessen, er, you might be somewhere in the ball park. That aforementioned twisted spiral follows a surprisingly natural progression, firmly rooted in reality, lending a compelling conviction to poor Edgar's descent into a personal hell - largely of his own making. The author does everything in his power to encourage us to dislike Edgar and yet, some bloody how, we're invested in his journey. We care.

There's some complex psychology at its core, with an exquisite line in scathing cynicism interwoven with Edgar's driven, self-obsessive mania. It's captivating, engrossing stuff and - in contrast with the vampire drivel - I devoured it (ahem) in four days.

The one main criticism I can level at it is that for all its clever natural progression, the end is delivered courtesy of a character who seems to come out of left field, spilling over into the outright surreal. And yet the story almost demands this kind of transition from sublime to ridiculous and in some respects fits with the more surreal elements of some of Banks' literary works - Walking On Glass or The Bridge, say.

Beyond that, it deserves five stars for being like nothing else I've read. But I'm knocking off a star for a smattering of typos that slipped through the edit. They're by no means ruinous and they're a common enough feature of mainstream published works these days.

The key difference is this story will leave a lasting mark. While the mainstream washes over us all and flows into an ocean of fast-food packaging.

This has meat.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Dreaming the Life

I hate big companies. There, I’ve said it. They invade your living room and your computer and your phone, your newspapers, magazines, radio. They infiltrate every aspect of your life from what to wear, what to drive, how to eat, where to drink…effectively how to live your life. They bombard you with adverts in every medium, promoting clean living, responsible drinking, being kind to one another. It’s all white teeth, sandy beaches, slim women with perfect breasts, hairless men with six-packs, happy pensioners, still in love, enjoying their twilight years…all the same old utopian bullshit.

If companies want to use symbolism then they at least should have the honesty to reflect the world that we live in, rather than an idealised dream where maybe 1% of the total world population can start off the day with a pillow fight with their semi-naked model girlfriend before driving to the beach for lunch followed by the best seats in the house for the World Cup Final and topped off by a pool party on a cliff-top locale. Why? Because while the playboys and millionaires can aspire to these unrealistic of ideals the rest of us are at WORK, in the real world, surrounded by ugly fat people who smell bad rather than of ‘Pretension’ by Calvin Klein.

Of course we expect corporations to sell the dream, after all images of ugliness and pain don’t create the necessary escapism we need. Fair enough but have you ever tried calling the people who are responsible for these modern myths?  - those same people that commission the ad with the puppy that brings you toilet roll when in reality it’s an uncomfortable jog to the kitchen cupboard with your under-crackers round your ankles. Yes, those bastards.

I do it every day. It’s my job and let me tell you something…its all lies. For example when you’re on a phone call and the robotic woman on the message says – “Please hold the line your call is important to us.” Then when you call through to speak to the Marketing Director  and the monosyllabic receptionist in Darfour says that they don’t take calls and you’ll have to email, the first thing you think is –

“But I thought my call was important to you.”

My personal favourite is if you’re the lucky lottery winner that manages to get through to them (when they’re not at lunch for 3 hours or in their fifteenth meeting of the week or they’ve gone home at 4 because they only work three days a week and finish early on a Friday – is when they get the hump because they’ve never spoken to you before and you have the audacity to call them at work. I always respond with – “Well I never gave you permission to invade my living room a dozen times a night selling your rubbish but you do it anyway.”

 So don’t believe the hype, don’t buy the products, watch as these businesses fail and get replaced by other businesses promising the same intangible dreams, of lifestyles that you’ll never have or women that you’ll never fuck. Be happy without things and they’ll stop trying to sell you them.