Shhhh. Listen…can you hear that? It sounds like a tick…tock…listen…THERE! Did you hear it then dear reader? A tick-tocking…tick…tock…tick…tock…is it a clock? A countdown of some kind? Don’t you agree that there is nothing more frustrating than hearing a sound and not knowing…tick…tock..there it goes again! I feel like Captain Hook! Haunted by the sound of a tick tock…tick…tock…tick…
Today on the blog I am reviewing The Exploding Book (Published 29 April 2019) By Mike Russell. A big thank you to the publishers Strange Books for my copy to review, always appreciated. I adore Russell’s writing and couldn’t wait to dive in.
About The Author
Mike Russell was born in 1973. He grew up in the small village of Pulborough in the south of England. As a child, he enjoyed daydreaming, art and writing strange stories.
As an adult, he enjoys daydreaming, art and writing strange stories.
Mike Russell was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from Falmouth University and a Master of Arts from the University of Central England.
Mike Russell’s books have been described as Strange Fiction, Weird Fiction, Weird Lit, Surrealism, Fantasy Fiction… but he just likes to call them Strange Books. He is a full-time author and grows his own potatoes.
The Exploding Book
There is a book with the power to destroy any book different from itself.
Do not fear.
This is not that book.
This is the story of that book.
An explosion occurs in a library, destroying all the books except one: an untitled book whose author is unknown.
Unless someone can prevent it, the untitled book will soon become the only book in existence.
Mike Russell’s The Exploding Book is a unique, surreal novel. Filled with bizarre characters and fantastic imagery, The Exploding Book will take you on an extraordinary journey of cosmic proportions.
The astounding thing about Russell’s books is you never quite know what to expect. Trust me, as an avid bookworm I have greedily consumed his other works in quick succession and STILL been left speechless. I’ve always seen Russell’s writing as an intriguing enigma that never fails to leave me craving more. You enter a world where everything is not as it seems with strange and peculiar characters navigating their way mindlessly through Russell’s labyrinth, not knowing if the next turn with lead them to freedom or a dead end.
Prepare to discover an outer body experience dear reader as you float up into the dark sky and observe the residents of Gladeville. Never escaping the constant tick…tock…that accompanies you, giving a sense of urgency to continue on before time runs out. You fly through the skies with only the dim streetlights to guide you in hopes you will once again feel bliss the moment you find the gold temple. I enjoyed reading the narrative in second person and bearing witness to the inevitable BANG! It’s definitely an experience, one that will take you out of your comfort zone and head first into the unknown.
“You see a gold temple.
The gold temple is glowing; it is emanating a gold aura of extraordinary brilliance. The gold light touches you and you feel bliss.”
Similar to his pervious books, I was pleased to find Russell’s frequently used technique that he applies to his characters. Everything is uniformed, follow the rules and stay inside the box. (Ha! How ironic.) Russell’s stories open in blacks, greys and whites before slowly bleeding in blobs of colour from the outskirts, watching it spread frantically out of control, tainting anything it comes into contact with. It’s bewitching and surreal to read, like watching the sun rise for the first time. The slow fading of the dark night sky into warm welcoming rays of pinks, reds and oranges. Sensational.
Russell writes human emotions that are raw and honest. He isn’t afraid to put it out there in ink for all the world to read. His characters can be closed off and sedate, not knowing any other way of life, bottling up grief and pushing it down beneath the surface. However they can also be full of life and colour, bursting to brim with charisma. There’s a healthy balance of the norm and strange that works flawlessly in Russell’s writing.
“And then I want to scream at the top of my voice: I will not be contained! I will not be restricted! I refuse to be imprisoned by any role, by any name or by any definition! I am free! I am free! I am free!”
The residents of Gladeville were interesting to follow, all appearing similar yet each hiding their own secret desires. Characters such as PC Carter and Mr Edwards who never realised they knew the word sex or what it meant. Confused and lost, these characters all want the same thing but are in complete denial. The most being Mr Smith who is…well, you will just have to read the book and find out dear reader. They all have their parts to play and put on an astounding show. Bravo.
“This new, fantastic phenomenon, they decide, fits inside the Dark Book’s dogma. So they return their furniture to their homes, stop staring up at the sky and shaking their heads at the strangeness of it all, and resume their regular roles, the roles that have contained them for as long as they can remember.”
What you gain from reading this book is your personal perspective. It could mean many things to you but something completely different to someone else. You may read it as a strange tale of events that don’t make sense and wonder, is it a duck or a rabbit? And that’s the beauty of it. It’s down to interpretation, which is a strong message that flows throughout the book. We are all different and see things differently yet we can come together and unite as one. It baffles the mind and gives it a much needed work out for you find yourself questioning and wondering about life outside the box.
“It isn’t right. Why do we all see things differently from one another? Why can’t we all see things the same way? Why are we all so separate from one another, so distant from one another? Why is there no unity?”
I give The Exploding Book By Mike Russell a Five out of Five paw rating.
Always a mesmerising experience reading Russell’s writing, one that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. He is a fantastic writer with a unique imagination. A much needed and refreshing approach to literature that leaves you questioning and pondering about, well life. What is normal? What is strange and why is that deemed strange? Who says so? Society? Pah! Now who’s the strange one?
Hop hop wiggle wiggle