We are family, I got all my sisters with me, we are family, get up everybody and sing! Although to be honest with you dear reader you really wouldn’t want to hear me sing. It’s not a pretty sight. But you’ve got to admit that when you hear this catchy tune by the lovely Sister Sledge it makes you feel united, connected to your nearest and dearest. I mean, family is everything isn’t it? Isn’t it?…
Today on the blog I am reviewing The Nacullians (Published 10th Sept. 2020) By Craig Jordan-Baker. A big thank you to the publishers époque press for my copy to review, always appreciated.
Welcome to the world of The Nacullians, three generations of one family, living in a brick house in a line of other brick houses. Craig Jordan-Baker’s dark comedy charts the tensions and traumas of one family and their relationship with the city they inhabit.
About The Author
Craig Jordan-Baker is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at The University of Brighton. He has published fiction in New Writing, Text, Firefly Magazine, Potluck and in the époque press ezine. His drama has been widely performed in the UK, including his adaptation of Beowulf and he has had dramatic work commissioned from The National Archives, The Booth Museum of Natural History and the Theatre Royal Brighton. The Nacullians is Craig’s debut novel.
Meet the Nacullians, three generations of one family living under the same roof on an estate in the east of a southern city. The family began with Patrice and Nandad Nacullian who crossed the water from another island sometime after the Second World War. They had four children, Niall, Betty, Shannon and Bernard who we follow through their trials and tribulations.
The reader flicks though the Nacullians family album while listening to the narrator who makes sure to remind them that they are here for the family. From the outside they appear to be your average, normal functioning family yet we all know far too well that appearances can be deceiving. Each member is troubled with their own inner demons that feed off the despair and misery that lives within the walls of the house. It’s dark, intense and dramatic reading.
The themes portrayed throughout the narrative are distorted and gritty showing the family’s misfortunes. We also witness their passive relationship with the city they live in as the narrator gives the reader interludes about the surrounding area. It’s intriguing to discover and pulls you in to this twisted, disturbing world that surrounds The Nacullians.
The narrative handles suicidal thoughts and racial slurs raw and explicitly. There is also a lot of racial and profane language used throughout and has the potential to cause offence to some readers. However Jordan-Baker has used it within reason and it only strengthens the reality and harshness of the Nacullians’ story. They have not had an easy lot in life. The Nacullians have suffered. At only two hours old Niall died from a lung defect in hospital. Betty kills herself when she is sixteen and Nandad dies from cancer leaving Patrice, Bernard, Shannon and Greg in the brick house on Harefield estate. It strips back to the darker side of reality. The side we all force ourselves to subdue and pretend to be ignorant of. But there’s no escaping that here as Jordan-Baker presents you the Nacullians family way of life, trapping you in the brick house as you bear witness to their tale of woe.
The imposing, impending gloom of the 21st century stalks the characters throughout the narrative. The fear of the unknown and what the new century will bring to the family is inevitable. The fear that nothing is ever going to get better. There is a strong sense of never-ending torment as the characters drag themselves through the daily grind of everyday life. Bernard starts to become racially and physically abusive. Shannon gets pregnant by a married man and brings up her son, Greg alone while Patrice has had enough and longs for death. Their inner demons and past mistakes continue to weigh them down, making it unbearable to witness at times. However you can’t tear yourself away. The family gets under you skin and you’re desperate to disocver their fate.
I give The Nacullians By Craig Jordan-Baker a Five out of Five paw rating.
Gritty, explicit and eye-opening, from the moment you begin reading you are hooked. The Nacullians are not your average, normal family, but then what family is and what is exactly normal these days?
Buy a copy
Hop hop wiggle wiggle