Tourniquet: Tales From The Renegade City – Kim Lakin-Smith
There is a lot to be said for the Dan Brown approach to writing; shaving the fat off, pacy story-lines, each chapter a cliffhanger etc. Most of us are into our genre fiction because we enjoy a rip-roaring read, we want to immerse ourselves in a story that will carry us along a breakneck speed and leave us breathless and exhilarated. By writing this introduction it perhaps makes it seem that Tourniquet is none of these things. Au contraire, it is, but it is also so much more.
You see I am finding that many writers now feel, that in order to achieve pace, excitement and (most importantly) a commercial read, they need to keep the language as simple as possible. Before I sound like I’m getting on my high horse about the standards of writing today etc. I will clarify that I think there are many great stories out there and many of them well written, the criticism is purely to do with me. Simplifying language to reach a larger audience I fear is somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve noticed that if I have a choice of books to read (and with a ‘to read’ list that reaches the ceiling that’s always) I will more and more often go for the ‘quicker’ looking read, because the world of today is all about speed is it not. However I’ve also noticed that recently some of the more challenging reads have been harder for me to get into than they used to.
It worries me a little and it worries me that it may affect others even more than me and it worries me that this could mean books as magical as Tourniquet don’t get the profile they deserve.
Kim’s language from the opening passage is breath-taking. The story moves with a grace and poetry I have not encountered in many many a read. I simply found myself immersed in the text and when I say immersed I don’t just mean ‘caught up in the story’.
I mean immersed!
This is prose you can touch, taste, smell and feel. Yes the language is dense, but it could not be any other way. Renegade city is bought so vividly to life that you shiver at the frosty steel of it and sigh beneath the heavy velvet of it. You can taste the leather, sweat and metallic tang of blood. Each minute gesture of every character is loving brought into relief that you know them better than your own family by the end of the book… and yet of course being so enigmatic you hardly know them at all.
This is not a review, it’s simply an invitation to participate in one of the most sensual reads I’ve experienced for quite some time.