REVIEW: A, B & E | Marc Nash | Lightning Source UK

Title: Wards A, B & E
Author: Marc Nash
Lightning Source UK
Genre: Experimental
ISBN: 978-1-906558-97-0
Length: 183 pages
Reviewer: Sassy Brit

When I began reading this novel I knew it was going to be an experimental book, however, I was greatly surprised at just how experimental. The author, Marc Nash, has a vivid imagination, and writes with knowledge and intellect. His prose is full of great British slang words (I'm a Brit, that makes a nice change!), clever wordplay and random sentence structure. Cocktail recipes at the end of each chapter and a one act play clearly display the author's lively and whimsical sense of humour. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough for me and I rather struggled with this story.

Now, whereas I do appreciate that experimental fiction is a genre of its own and one I freely admit to being new to, I do know that while subverting literary conventions - which in many ways is a form of Bizarro fiction I love and am familiar with - is experimental. I also know excessive use of unnecessarily flowery verbiage makes a story complicated and difficult to understand. It slows down the fluidity of the reading, and that can distract and annoy. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a clever piece of writing, but my suspicions are for it to appeal to a wider audience the author may need to calm his extreme experimental style and write in a way the average reader can relate to. But then Nash may not want to attract the average reader but more the person who wants something out of the norm, and if that is the case then this work certainly fits the bill.

Even in experimental literature if there is difficulty differentiating which character is talking as was the case here that only leads to confusion and less enjoyment for the reader. The first person point of view was not an ideal choice for both the protagonist and the antagonist when writing in this "stream of consciousness" style, where there is little dialogue in between these two characters' thoughts.

Now, if the structure of the story is correctly part of the subject matter, then other people who understand it better than me, will probably love Marc Nash's independent voice and his clear break away from convention. This is after all, only one person's opinion and experiential forms are obviously not my forte. However, I am glad to have read Wards A, B & E as it has broadened my horizons and given me a new reading experience. It certainly "should" have fit in very well with my preference for all things "alternative" but sadly, it was too extreme even for me.

About Marc Nash:

Started writing plays at University because there were lots of stages, actors and directors to learn the craft in fairly secured environs. Carried on into real world, but moved more and more from kitchen sink realism to exploring movement and space and working with dancers. Arrival of my twins put an end to hanging about theatre bars and turned to writing prose when they were tucked up in bed. Again, veer towards the more experimental end, exploring language and voice. For my day jobs I worked 20 years in the counter-culture at Rough Trade Record Shop and now work for Index On Censorship magazine. Main child-rearer and manager of my kids' football team which is harder than anything else above!

Marc Nash can be found here: Year Zero Writers | Author Website | The "Inside Story" by Sassy Brit and her Gang!
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  1. Too extreme even for you, that does get me curious to even if not buying it, at least have a look

  2. I've always said curious minds will by a book despite what a reviewer says! :)

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. "Buy" even! Oh, why is there no editing allowed in bloggers comments? LOL

  4. Is it very naive of me to ask what "experimental literature" is? I don't think I know the term!

  5. Hi, Aarti,

    No, not at all. My own opinion of Experimental Lit, is "work which goes beyond, and defies the standard plot structure and style usually required in mainstream fiction".

    It's like the apple defying gravity!



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