A strange little yellow book full of strange scenarios that every single one of us can relate to in some way.
Ya Mum is short vignette style stories that give a sense of art and deeper thought to everyday occurrences that are always seen but often ignored.
From dumped shopping trolleys to a lonesome shoe. Social distancing in Morrisons to an unpleasant discovery in a pub toilet.
Armed with the perils of hangovers and dubiously stained mattresses, author Ben Tallon sees our world a little differently. He sees beyond the basics, he turns the arse-end of British life into something story-worthy.
I see this book as a ‘loo book’ or stocking filler. A book that you find yourself reading out of morbid curiosity, nodding in agreement and surprise at just how relevant it is.
It’s a strange little yellow book, and I recommend it for shits and giggles. It offers a perspective of this crappy world with its crappy people that’s nothing quite like yours.
About the author:
Ben Tallon is a writer, illustrator and host of Arrest All Mimics podcast. He grew up laughing at farts in Keighley, West Yorkshire and is fascinated by the dirty underbelly of British culture.
Thank you to author Ben Tallon for sending me a signed copy.
Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!
The three W’s are: 📖 What are currently reading? 📖 What have you finished reading? 📖 What will you read next?
I’m currently reading and REALLY enjoying Hag : Forgotten Folktales Retold. It’s a compilation of traditional folk tales by some cracking women writers like Daisy Johnson, Kirsty Logan and Irenosen Okijie. It’s part of my spooky season October reads.
Staying with spooky reads, I finished reading Famished by Anna Vaught. A dark collection of short stories with food and feasting as the main theme. It’s on my best of 2020 shelf on Goodreads and has pride of place next to my (slowly growing) Shirley Jackson collection. You can read my 5 star review HERE.
Next in line, is creepy horror collection Diabolica Britannica: A Dark Isles Horror Compendium by a variety of horror authors including Sarah Budd, Morgan K Tanner and Tim Lebbon. It’s introduction is written by horror legend Ramsey Campbell and I can’t wait to get stuck in! All proceeds from the purchase of this ebook go to Covid-19 research here in the UK, so it was a no-brainer to buy this for Halloween!
So there we have it! As you can see, I’m very much into short story collections at the moment. I like how I can get the satisfaction of a whole story without committing too much time to each one.
‘In this dark and toothsome collection, Anna Vaught enters a strange world of apocryphal feasts and disturbing banquets.’
25g of dried madness
300ml of warmed passion, diced erratically
A generous cupful of foul thoughts (check the back of your pantry)
400g of delicious words
1 or 2 tsps of mixed emotions
50g of old musty dictionary pages (‘W,T or F pages are probably most suitable)
For the glaze: A wash of quiet darkness
Preparation is recommended on an empty stomach.
Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl. Do this in a careful manner, creating a revolting soup-like consistency that can easily travel through ones veins.
Next, gently combine the dry ingredients together into an old urn or suchlike. There’s bound to be one lurking on the mantelpiece somewhere. Stir with a gnarled and boney finger until it resembles an odd, dusty, cement-like mixture.
Mix both wet and dry ingredients together and divide into 17 unequal portions. You are now ready to create your worst food nightmares.
HOW DOES IT TASTE?
Comparable to a Cindy Lauper album, Famished has got to be the most magical, colourful, intelligent, bonkers, grotesque mix of stories I’ve ever had the (dis)pleasure to read. For reasons unknown, it just reminded me of how fascinated I am by Cindy Lauper in that you can’t help but find it entertaining, albeit very weirdly so.
Anna Vaught is a novelist, poet, essayist, reviewer and editor. She is also a secondary English teacher, and that shows spectacularly throughout the entire book. I spent a great deal of time looking up so many words in the dictionary, I felt like I was back in school. (Would I get an A* Ms Vaught, if you’re reading this?!)
Famished was a learning curve, a strange experience, a delight.
Famished was also heartfelt, relatable and revolting. Did it whet my appetite? It certainly did. But it didn’t make me hungry. Did it ruin my dinner? No! Funnily enough, it took me back to dinner times at home with my parents in the 80’s. Tinned mandarin segments with condensed milk for pudding was supposed to be a treat!
I must have quite a strong stomach because out of all the darn right disgusting things in this book, there was only one thing that really turned me over.
These four words – ‘…sea-foam milky tea…’ 🤢
I’ve only really started reading short story collections in the last couple of years, so I’ve got quite a list to get through. Many classics and a few contemporary, but I don’t think I’ll come across anything quite like Famished again.
Although…and I’m saying this with great relish; there’s hints of SHIRLEY JACKSON in Vaughts writing. YES, that’s what I said. I’ve compared a modern author to JACKSON, the QUEEN OF MACABRE.
Famished is staying on my forever shelf, and Ms Vaughts’ vulgar little tales are living beside Shirley Jackson. They can be like ‘two sisters, secreted in the deeper recesses of darkness…’