It’s with great pleasure I get to share my review for Attend by West Camel as part of the blog tour today. My thanks go to Anne Cater, Orenda books and West Camel for the opportunity to read this smashing book.
When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters and set against the unmistakable backdrop of Deptford and South London.
Attend has three main characters, we have Anne a recovering drug addict, she is trying to build bridges with her mother and daughter and finding it incredibly difficult to fit back into life without drugs. She’s quite a lost soul but very likeable. Sam is starting a new relationship with thug Derek and struggles with Derek having a dark side, both have troubled pasts and as I got to know them better I was really hoping the relationship would work. Then we have Deborah, now Deborah is such a wonderful character I instantly found a place in my heart for her, she’s quirky yet full of knowledge and as she takes us back to her younger days I couldn’t help be mesmerised by her story.
Attend was a real surprise for me, I honestly didn’t expect to feel so emotionally involved in the story. Going by the description I think I was sort of expecting something a bit harsher, yes there are drugs and violence involved but that is just a tiny bit of the story and what I felt was cosy reading it. It was like when you’re cold and you wrap your favourite blanket round you and you feel warm and snug, that’s how I felt each time I picked up Attend.
I cant say ive read anything like this before and although it took me longer than normal to read (teething baby) i enjoyed taking my time with it, fully absorbing each charater and each chapter. It’s written beautifully and i would never have believed this was a debut. The characters come alive and when i wasn’t reading i was thinking about them.
Attend is a mesmorising, special story that really draws the reader in and it’s a story that will stay with me for a long, long time. Absolutely fantastic.
Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghostwriting a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres,
A highly anticipated debut, blending the magical realism of Angela Carter and the gritty authenticity of Eastenders
and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.