Update on The Dust in the Moth – Reviews and Nottingham City of Literature

I know, I know: it’s been too long. Sorry about that. Busy-busy-busy, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to throw together a blog post for all of my hypothetical, quite probably imaginary readers. If you’re one of said imaginary readers and have been waiting with bated breath for over half a year for this post, I salute your Gandhi-like patience and hope it scratches your itch – which will no doubt by now be a hideous, gaping sore.

So what’s the word? The Moth is the word. While I’ve been pottering away with other nonsense, The Dust on the Moth has been sneaking through shadows and doing its own thing. It’s been on the receiving end of some very kind emails and tweets, and has also had a couple of reviews.

Here’s what Nottingham’s Left Lion had to say:

Conceived via Kickstarter as an ambitious multimedia collaboration, The Dust on the Moth is no ordinary book. Plucked from the slush pile by Nottingham creative community Bees Make Honey, given gorgeous illustrations and a soundtrack, this book is the story of 8 Asgard Street, its three vulnerable young occupants and their overly chummy landlord, the repellent Mr Malarkey. Meanwhile, somewhere else entirely, just on the line between science fiction and fairytale, the rulers of a place called Midgard debate the practicalities of outlawing love. The voyeuristic Mr Malarkey makes for an effectively grotesque and unnerving villain, but the whimsical half of the narrative on Midgard doesn’t quite match up, its inhabitants painted with strokes too broad to engage the reader completely. The Dust on the Moth is an uneven piece of work, but remains a weird, unsettling mix of whimsy, science fiction and the very, very creepy.

A bit of a mixed review, then, but that’s fair dos – it’s a very mixed novel.

And here’s a review from Notts Lit:

A new work of fiction has just come to my attention, an ambitious hardback made in Notts and so original it’s difficult to describe sober. Let me try: Anna, along with Adam (her twin brother), and Henry (her boyfriend), are viewing a rental opportunity – 8 Asgard Street – an eerie gaff with a voyeuristic landlord who flits between creepy and monstrous. This modern Brothers Grimm set up runs parallel to another otherworldly story, a dark fantasy set in a lurid alternate universe that shines a light on our own. Artistic illustrations and photographs accompany the chapters (the book even comes with a six track soundtrack that could be from a sci-fi flick) in this literary feast of rich prose, engaging dialogue and colliding lives. This book is unique, the result of an author’s unfretted talent at work and play. It rings with intrigue and unease. As it is impossible to describe The Dust on the Moth in one word, I’ll give you seven: Experimental. Rich. Creative. Political. Philosophical. Fantastical. Visual.

Too kind, too kind! This review also includes an interview with Kirsty Fox on putting together and funding the Moth. Well worth a peek if you’re interested in collaboration and crowdfunding.

Finally, I’m pleased as Punch to report that the Moth has got the attention of Nottingham City of Literature (did you know Nottingham is one of twelve UNESCO Cities of Literature around the world?), who asked me to write a short article about it, which you can find here.

Moth moth moth… It’s all I ever seem to go on about. But there’s more to life than the Moth, even for me. And other things are indeed happening. As I write, my agent is touting my latest manuscript to various publishers and getting some interest, so I’m crossing every available finger for that. On top of that, this coming autumn – in the wake of lots of planning and research – I’ll finally be putting finger to keyboard for my next novel. I won’t give away too much, but it may involve a goat called Kafka. I’m very excited about it.

Much love,
Darren