Little Deaths — Emma Flint

New York City last century: the scarlet woman, the suspicious tragedy, the tough cop, the tenacious reporter. They’re all here, but they are put together in some unexpected ways. Right at the beginning, the “murder mystery” trope is upended by having the story start as a flashback, so we immediately know how it ends. Or do we? We meet a lot of characters on our way through the story, and despite the foreshadowing, the end of the book is quite satisfying.

The thing I liked most about this book is the writing style. Nicely-turned phrases and insightful sentences had me nodding my head all the way through. Smiling sometimes, even, though any humour in this book is definitely on the dark side. (Not The Dark Side though; it’s not that dark.)

The 1960s New York period detail is convincing without being overdone. As usual with decent writing about NYC, it makes the city seem so cosmopolitan and very appealing. Maybe NYC really is cosmopolitan and appealing. I went there once. I guess it was pretty interesting.

It’s a great novelty (ha ha) to me to read a novel written by somebody I actually know. I knew Emma Flint (or as I like to call her, “Emma Flint”) fairly well about 20 years ago on the other side of the world; we still share the odd wry comment or two over the Twitters and the Facebook. It’s inspiring to have brushes with greatness like this in my life.

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