Blood

Front Cover
Fentum Press, 2019 - Dentists - 296 pages
Who attacked Dad? When a corrupt, brutal dentist, Albert Ludd, is found battered and bloody after failing to attend a memorial party for his youngest son, suspicion falls on the dentist''s other children. Especially on Dad''s middle daughter, 37-year-old buxom bruiser Monica Ludd, who was heard ''uttering threats'' against her absent father. How come her car is found outside Dad''s house? Why did she buy a large axe? And yet, Monica''s a deputy head teacher... Blood is a Gothic black comedy seen through the eyes of six-foot Monica, who cannot help speaking her secret thoughts aloud and who has been banned by the principal of her school, from using social media. ''"Parents are sensitive to abuse." "Neil, I would never abuse our parents." "Governors queried ''moron'' and ''twat''." '' Set in an angry, anarchic, Brexit-ing Britain where terrorism has become routine, Blood also asks serious questions about modern life: what can we do with the brutal men who bully women and the weak? Can we wait for a world of order and justice? If we hit back, can the circle of violence ever be broken?Kirkus Reviews (05/01/2019):What should Monica Ludd, the fearless sister to five other Ludd siblings, do when she finds their horrible father beaten to a pulp? And what does the dysfunctional Ludd family''s predicament tell us about Brexit Britain? "The Ludds. Artistes of awfulness" is how noted British novelist Gee (Virginia Woolf in Manhattan, 2014, etc.) introduces the bizarre family around which she builds her tragicomedy of revenge. Monica, 38, 6-foot-1, "an amazon, strong, deep-chested, solid haunches," narrates the book, haunted by the fearsome childhood she endured. Her twin brothers, Boris and Angus, "two jut-jawed Herculeses," their wand-thin model sister, Fairy, and another sister, glamazon Anthea, lived in dread of their cruel father, Albert, whose pitilessness forced the last child, Fred, into the army; he was killed in Afghanistan. But for all her power, Monica is not quite as tough as she seems. Discovering Albert''s bloody, smashed-up body after a party to celebrate Fred''s life, she flees, beginning a chain of farcical events that exposes both her resourcefulness and her vulnerability. The Ludds live in Thanet, a spit of land in southern England, "the end and beginning of Britain," and Gee''s nonstop procession of grotesques, slapstick, and sideswipes at Brexit and domestic terrorism attempts to point up connections between violence in personal relationships and other, larger scenarios. Lurid and breathless, driven by galumphing characters and some belly laughs, this furious tale of brutal times and remedies doesn''t quite make that link, but the wild ride, underpinned by its author''s sharp perceptions, entertains quite a bit. A horror movie-esque last act sees the family coming together to defeat oppression and Monica transformed at last from lone warrior to larger-than-life local hero. Even if the novel can seem unsettled, she''s irresistible. A vibrant parable of abuse and survival, stronger on the family front than the national one. COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED."Commanding" Wall Street Journal (07/16/2019)Publishers Weekly (05/20/2019):The family of teacher Monica Ludd, the 37-year-old narrator of this amusing, psychologically attuned crime novel from British author Gee (The White Family), is headed by her father, Albert, a dentist in Thanet, Kent, who sexually abuses his patients and cheats the government. Albert has raised six children, torturing them verbally and physically. Monica is preparing to throw a party honoring her younger brother, Fred, who was killed in Afghanistan. She plans a speech blaming Albert for Fred''s death, because Albert bullied him into becoming a soldier. Her plans, however, go awry: Albert fails to come to the party, and Monica threatens in front of witnesses to kill him. The next morning, Monica goes to his house, armed with an ax, only to find her father already dead, slaughtered in his bed. Gee poses the question: is Monica culpable because she wanted to commit the crime but failed to execute it, or did she actually do it? The reader goes back and forth, not knowing what to believe. One doesn''t have to be a mystery fan to appreciate this beautifully crafted and provocative tale. (July)Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.Shelf Awareness (07/09/2019):Maggie Gee''s Blood could be called an unorthodox thriller, a black comedy or representative of any number of other genres. For many American readers, it will be an introduction to the acclaimed author of 15 books published in the U.K. The genre may be difficult to place, but it''s easy to see Gee''s strengths, particularly in her characters. The novel is told primarily from the perspective of Monica Ludd, a gigantic, buxom woman from a family haunted by the abuse and cruelty meted out by their physically imposing father on his wife and children. When the father is attacked, Monica becomes the chief suspect.Blood''s plot is not particularly twisty--despite the novel''s short length, there are passages where Monica meditates on her twisted childhood and a country thrown into turmoil by Brexit and terrorist attacks. What carries the book is Monica''s perspective: equal parts rude, funny, fearful, literate and randy. Monica is an unusual but effective vehicle for a conversation about the legacy of abuse and violence. The contradictory aspects of her character echo the difficulty of the topic. At one point, Monica reminds the reader that her father always "adored" her mother in the midst of relating the ways he tormented her: "Yes, I know, it''s complicated; life''s complicated, get over it."Instead of twists and turns, Gee immerses the reader in dread. Her father''s fate uncertain, Monica fears that he will return and continue his reign of terror. Blood asks whether a monster can be stopped without further monstrous violence. COPYRIGHT(2019) Shelf Awareness, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED."Gee has created an unforgettable character. highly entertaining, she makes a fascinating literary companion...Blood is unconventional - refreshingly so - and a reminder that violence and retribution, jealousy and fear have been important literary themes for ever. " Vicki Weisfeld, Crime Fiction Lover

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About the author (2019)

Maggie Gee (Virginia Woolf in Manhattan, 2019) has published fifteen books to great acclaim, and her work has been translated into fourteen languages. One of Granta's original 'Best Young British Novelists' (1983, with William Boyd, Kazuo Ishiguro, Julian Barnes), she has been shortlisted for major prizes including the Orange (now the Women's) Prize, the IMPAC and been a Booker Prize judge. The first professional writer in her family and from the first generation to go to university (Academic Scholar, Somerville College, University of Oxford), she was the first female Chair of the UK Royal Society of Literature, and is now one of its Vice-Presidents. Gee works as a Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, writes novels and journalism, and is a Director of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society. The Queen awarded her an OBE for Services to Literature in 2012.

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