Lamb de Matt Hill

de Matt Hill - Género: English
libro gratis Lamb


"It's inside every parent to want to carry their child's terror. It's the thing they never tell you about. Watching your child grow up, watching your child learn to suffer..." When lorry driver Dougie Alport carries out a deadly attack on his employer's head office, the reverberations of his actions unleash a grief in his wife Maureen that threatens to reveal the secret she has spent years hiding from their son, Boyd. Moving north to start again is Maureen's best response. But as the walls begin to throb with mould and his mother slips from his grasp, Boyd decides to flee, finding solace with a new friend at the landfill site on the edge of town. Here, a startling discovery upends Boyd's new life and forces him into a reckoning with his mother, her past, and his future. A visceral story of collective memory and moss-coated horror, Lamb asks us how far we'd go to protect those we love, and how intensely we are bound to those who have come before us.

Reseñas Varias sobre este libro

Straight in as a contender for book of the year. Due out October 2023. Thanks to Harriet at Dead Ink Books for the copy.

A formidable novel. A measure of its power: Days after finishing it there’s a sense of mourning, a numbness – in the throes of nothingness and an overwhelming concern that the next read(s) will always pale in significance.

Cover design – deserves a mention, extremely alluring, a thing of beauty by Luke bird.

Lamb is a multifaceted and composite novel. Its Matt Hill’s fifth novel, a Philip K. Dick nominee, also the author of The Folded Man, Graft, Bomb and The Breach. As such, any response to it will always be lacking to sure up its beauty. Thematically: viscerally unnerving - a merging of eco and body horror, where mildew, mould and moss proliferate fetidly in response to a genetically modified family residing in Watford. It is incredibly bleak.

Its central character is Boyd, fifteen-year-old son to Dougie – a lorry driver who commits a violent act of terrorism at a nearby depot. The opening is disquieting enough, yet only a fleck to what follows as it begins to unravel a preternatural secret Boyd’s mother Maureen has ferried for years. Buried in the throes of grief, they move north, but the spores and fungus are inexorable, and it’s here the extent of their force is affirmed.

Lamb confronts and deconstructs aspects of memory, family, loss, identity and belonging. Hill is a master of deft and intense prose, effortlessly weaving vivid imagery (of emerald and purple moss, dying brown and deathly grey) together with elements of especial science-fiction horror (of auto-conception, pancreatic tissue, blastocysts, observation tanks). The plot is innovative, plaiting England’s violent underbelly of poverty, egotism, and exploitation with the complexities of parent-child trauma and its lasting psychological harm.

Beneath the otherworldly elements, Hill’s Lamb also poses many unnerving questions related to the human condition: of nightmarish technological manipulation (auto-conception, blastocysts, observation tanks), mental health crises, and an underclass falling further and further through the net.

A sublime novel and hugely recommended. See Dead Ink Books to pre-order. 12 s Blair1,878 5,358

An intriguing but cold novel of ideas that reminded me of Infinite Detail and Oval. The gripping opening chapter, in which a lorry driver commits an act of terrorism for reasons unknown, turns out to be something of a red herring. As does, really, the five-minutes-into-the-future setting, with things scavenged crypto and looted supermarkets acting as background detail to the subdued tale of a uniquely dysfunctional family. This was one of those reader/book mismatch situations: Lamb just wasn’t the story I wanted it to be, which of course isn’t actually a criticism of the book, but does mean I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it. I will say, though, that one phrase from the jacket copy leaps out as particularly fitting – ‘moss-coated horror’ – there is indeed a lot of that.2023-release near-future-soft-sf read-on-kindle15 s Paul FulcherAuthor 2 books1,575

Lamb by Matt Hill is published by Dead Ink:

Dead Ink is a small, ambitious and experimental literary publisher based in Liverpool. We believe that there are brilliant authors out there who may not yet be known or commercially viable. We see it as Dead Ink’s job to bring the most challenging and experimental new writing out from the underground and present it to our audience in the most beautiful way possible.

And this certainly comes beautifully packaged with cover art by the impressive Luke Bird.

The novel begins:

Dougie Alport was a lorry driver and proud, in that particular way northern men can be. He usually spoke to his son Boyd with indifference, his wife Maureen with his mouth full, or not at all. Lately he seemed glad to have fathered an only child; Maureen, at her most resentful, said he only d being home when Boyd was asleep.

And the initial chapters go on to relay the aftermath, for Maureen and 15yo Boyd, from whose perspective the novel is told, from a carefully and secretly planned rampage in a Mad-Max type rebuilt version of his lorry cab that ends Dougie’s life, triggered by a redundancy notice, one rather reminiscent of the 2004 Killdozer case: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvi...

But that isn’t really what the novel is about. After Dougie’s death what at first seems paranoia on Maureen’s behalf and a bad case of domestic mould which she leaves Boyd to tackle, turn out to be something very different. I approached this without having read the blurb but the description of the novel there is perfect as “a visceral literary-speculative novel of collective memory and moss-coated horror, that asks us how far we’d go to protect those we love and how intensely we are bound to those who have come before us.”

And by the time we are two thirds through the novel Boyd is driving a patched up van across a post-industrial England, in search of his origins, directed in part by memories that he can’t really have and in part by a baby he discovered (due to the deaths of flocks of seagulls caused by her presence) on a rubbish tip where he was working as a scavenger, a rapidly ageing infant who within days rather than months and years is walking and talking:

There was no end to the narrow roads, nor the fields beside them. In the absence of directions, he put faith in features: a mothballed wind farm whose turbines stood rotting, towers and blades bronzed in the light, the last of the sun split into red points on every nacelle; a reservoir with an enormous solar farm floating on its waters, panels shimmering oil; woods and marshland stalked by stooped hikers; broken-up fracking gear; cold steel and rotting canvas behind barbed-wire fences.

Boyd wondered if he too might have intuited some of the way here. The thought was triggered by a bank of firs crowding a junction. T hey appeared taller, fuller, more vibrant to him than they once had – except he was sure he’d never seen them before. As he waited on a red light, he found himself trying to reconcile this sureness with a faint memory – more slippery, even, than the stranger’s face you recognise but can’t place – of passing through. It was as if he’d found inside himself a fragment of someone else’s past. Or as if another person’s memory, garbled by time, or maybe the transfer itself, had been injected into his mind. By holding such thoughts at a distance, consciously making them subconscious by continuing to look around – the road markings, the ad hoardings – it was obvious to him that there was far more to them. In full glare, however, the links degraded into mist.

I would lazily label this as Weird with a dash of Post-Industrial Folk Horror, and the agent’s comparisons to Jenni Fagan or Julia Armfield are well made while I was reminded of M John Harrison’s Goldsmiths winning The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again. Visceral, compelling and above all moving.

2023 indy-presses-202310 s Renee Godding735 867

This started out very strong and atmospheric, but unfortunately the reveal took the story in a direction/trope I really hoped it would avoid.
More thoughts to come.5 s endrju284 59

Mycohorror* for the Anthropocene (and I wanted to it better). It's got the right elements, especially in the ways in which weaves together exploration of post-industrial capitalism and its ecological consequences (toxic environments, landfills, etc.) and consequent themes of the Anthropocene and possible post-Anthropocene futures. And it is here that the novel's the weakest as it reaches for the most worn out sicence fiction trope to 'explain' the events that transpired. I was left with a feeling of a wasted opportunity in particular since I got my expectations very high because Dead Ink previously published marvelous The Doloriad.

*(I'm actually not sure what lifeform it is about, there are moss and mold mentioned but also plants so it can be anything including fungi though these aren't explicitely mentioned as far as I can remember but I how 'mycohorror' sounds and might use it for a paper on horror and fungi that I want to write.)3 s Oeil11 3

As someone who doesn’t have a good relationship with their parents, this book makes me ache in crazy ways. There’s so much guilt and love and tenderness captured between generations here and I feel it all. To call this book strange is an oversimplistic undersell. The strangeness is necessary to take you where you need to go. There’s dry northern humour, complex lovable characters, images that’ll haunt you, and gorgeous sentences and insights into life, relationship, politics. I finished it in just a few sittings but found myself thinking about it for much longer.3 s Ian Mond600 98 Read

This is a good companion piece to Fernanda Trias’s Pink Slime: motherhood and mould. Lamb, somehow, is the creepier and more visceral of the two. The novel follows Boyd, an awkward sixteen-year-old who doesn’t fit in at school and whose Dad recently took his life bulldozing his lorry into his company’s head office (he’d been retrenched). But what starts as a very domestic novel stepped in a single tragic event grows increasingly weird as Boyd’s Mum becomes ever distant and mould and rotten vegetation begin to invade their house. This is John Wyndham meets Jeff Vandermeer, the sort of book where the words “flower”, “bloom”, and “blossom” have horrific connotations. At its core, though, Lamb is a story about the love between mother and son, a connection that’s more than genetic. But it’s also a disquieting novel. Not necessarily frightening, but ick-inducing. All that mould, all that rot and death, is a reminder of a sick planet twisted by our hubris and arrogance. Fantastic novel.2 s Adrian792 19

I loved the first two thirds but started to lose focus with the baby plot. I’m not sure how much it all came together, especially with the first chapter (which was excellent). I’d definitely look out for more1 JOSHUA4

An uneven story, despite moments of poignancy I found Lamb empty, at times cartoonish, at others brooding and overly sensitive.

The father's bitcoin funded, Pimp-My-Ride style truck revamp is bizarre and being badgered by constant references to greasy, slimey, gooey things ( Sam Byers' recent Come Join Our Disease) became tiring.1 Aidan BakerAuthor 7 books8

Lamb is disquieting and tense...creepy and enervating...mournful and beautiful. Sort of horror...sort of sci-fi/cli-fi...combining internalised body horror with externalised environmental degradation...a novel set in a bleak, post-post-industrial England filled with mildew and mould that endlessly accrues in the corners of houses and gardens and the lungs of its characters, mountainous trash piles growing ligaments and capillaries, people breathing out rot and infecting, decaying their surroundings...

I've read comparing Lamb to Elvia Wilk's Oval or Missouri Williams's The Doloriad, which are apt enough, but I found myself, as I read, reminded more of Jenny Hval's Paradise Rot or Tricia Sullivan's Double Vision—not in any sort of derivativeness, but rather similarities in mood and atmosphere and, particularly in relation to Double Vision, the blurring of the biological, the alien and the human (alien in the sense of otherness, not necessarily other-worldliness), the boundaries of the internal body and external world, and how waste might give rise to new life.

Lamb is not an easy read. But amidst the gloom, the oppressiveness, there are brief flashes of tenderness—aching moments of familial (both chosen and biological) connection, compassion—which make Lamb readable, allows for emotional connection, engagement...as its teenaged main character, Boyd, struggles to understand and unravel the mysteries of his family, his genesis and theirs...and I won't say more than that about the plot to keep the mysteriousness, the ambiguity, just that, mysterious and ambiguous...

Thanks to Dead Ink Books and Matt Hill for the review copy of this book.

1 Donna TalentedReads666 10

She explained how silly, mundane things took on new meanings in the wake of death, and that it was natural to feel guilty.

Such a strange book. Reeling from grief over a horrific crime by his father, Boyd and his mother Maureen try hard to keep each other together but Maureen is also still trying to hide a secret of who she is from Boyd, a secret that's literally bursting at the seams to come out. Don't want to spoil anything but if you subtle body horror with a coming of age story, this would be a good recommendation for you. 2024-books Henry Bones14 1 follower

This was a fun puzzle box of a book that was also moving in the way its characters forged difficult relationships in their tense, dystopian world. Parthenogenesis and the return of nature to nature, the body unwinding into moss and flora after death, and sometimes before: an almost nightmarish but always mesmerising read. Penny Reeve15 37

A beautifully wrought, sensitive meditation on families, evolving and finding your place in the world, whilst also offering enough body horror to transform the novel into something truly weird and profound. An absolute gem.1 George55 33

When I started reading Lamb I had no idea what to expect, and whenever I thought I had it figured out we would turn a corner and I was completely lost again.

Boyd's father is dead after running his truck through his employers head office. His mother is falling apart and losing herself completely in her grief and Boyd dedicates himself to holding her and his ever-shrinking family together. Until one day, she's gone.

This book was a beautiful meditation on humanity and how we treat the Earth. Not a new message for a book by any means but still an important one and I've never seen it tackled in the way it is in this book. The themes of mould, moss, and decay are visceral and sometimes completely disgusting but draw you in to the world Boyd is living in.

I do think that the one negative I have is the final reveal of what's happening, without spoiling or going too much in to detail I was surprised that we find ourselves in a sci-fi/spec fic plot rather than a folk horror plot. It felt it diminished the messing of the book for me a little and almost felt unrefined compared to the rest of the book. But, definitely no where near jarring enough to lower my rating of the novel.2 s Liv Turner68 6

Loved this! Elcee46 4

Thoroughly enjoyed part one...the rest could've been at least 50 pages shorter. Jack Kirby-Lowe18

Deeply strange and sad, set in a desolate and oppressive country (England). Would pair nicely with Green Lung's This Heathen Land. rosey fra5

thought it was good, but then suddenly… clones!This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.Show full review SophieAuthor 9 books6

DNF. Pushed through til part two, then lost all interest. It's well written, but it seemed to lose itself somewhere between the fantasy and change of perspective. nicole7 1 follower

absolutely fucking mental
Chris Deeks35 5

‘Lamb’ is a weird little book.

A tale of grief, loss, body-horror, family, industrialisation, and moss. Lots and lots of moss.

After patriarch Dougie, a lorry driver, dies in an attack on his employers office in protest of the coming automation of his industry, his son (Boyd) and wife (Maureen) have their world turned upside down.

Unable to cope with her grief, and having had to move away from their home, Maureen withdraws further and further from reality and her son. As mould and damp consumes the house, Maureen risks revealing a secret from her past that will have enormous ramifications for Boyd. A secret that has something to do with the moss that they brought with them to their new home.

Boyd is a fascinating character, he is heartfelt and warm, and his life exponentially turns to nightmare as he is progressively let down again and again. Caring for a house and Mother that are both failing him. It is his journey that makes ‘Lamb’ so captivating, he is never quite in the loop of what is going on and it is this innocence that gives Hill’s story real humanity and sensitivity.

This novel lives on the fringe of sci-fi and horror, without ever leaning too heavily into them. It is a deft and beautiful examination of family and loss, alongside advancements in industry and science and the impact of one against the other. The pain that can come with change, in whatever form. It is weird, absolutely, but it is nice too. Jo86

“Lamb" by Matt Hill gripped me from the start, even though I usually don't read sci-fi. I couldn't stop turning the pages and finished it in just a few days. The story stayed with me long after I finished, making me think about it for weeks. Despite its dark themes, the book's exploration of identity and morality fascinated me. It's not just a sci-fi novel—it's a captivating story that anyone can enjoy, full of suspense and deep ideas that leave a lasting impression.

Also… have locked in a drawer as I’m pretty sure the book smells of mould now. marina33 33

Bleak, creepy and damp. Mossy body horror mixed in with a haunting tale of love and loss. There's an eerie sadness to it that slightly reminded me of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go which is about the biggest compliment I can give a book.2024-favorites Emily116

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