Review – Attend by West Camel

The Blurb

Under their feet lies magic…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

My Thoughts

Attend is the captivating debut novel by West Camel. Firstly drawn in by the striking cover, I couldn’t wait to read this book and I hoped the inside would be equally as stunning … and it is.

A book about life and crossed paths, Attend follows the lives of three disparate people who are brought together by a seemingly higher force. Anne and Sam have both had their fair share of difficulties in life and are finally getting back on track when they meet Deborah – a teller of stories and, in my mind, the orchestrator of fate. As both Anne and Sam negotiate their way through their new purposes in the world they find themselves wrapped up in Deborah’s life and enraptured by the story of her life and the possibilities she introduces to them.

I adored Camel’s prose as each word is perfectly pitched to draw you in, intrigue you and make you fall a little in love with each character. He has managed to combine historical fiction, magical realism and modern grit which, in all probability, shouldn’t work but it works wonderfully. Deborah’s stories fascinate and while we are never sure where the line between truth and fiction lies, she manages to make us all believe that just maybe there is something higher than us and that magic does exist.

Attend is the perfect book for a reading group as its themes – both current and historical – lend themselves to discussion along with the imagery that Camel uses which, I’m sure, will be open to individual interpretation. I have been deliberately vague about the storyline as I want you to experience Attend in the way that I did when I first read it, although I am desperate to discuss it!

The writing is sublime and Attend is a book that is rich in imagery and metaphor, leaving me thinking about it, and feeling it, long after the final page was read. It is a beautifully spun tale that defies being pigeonholed into a genre. A delicately balanced tapestry that combines current social issues, history and a little bit of magic, Attend is an assured debut by a talented writer. Lovers of literary fiction will adore it.

Attend is published on eBook on 15 November 2018 and paperback on 13 December 2018 by Orenda Books. You can get your copy HERE.

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