Singling Out The Couples – Stella Duffy

Okay so I am on deadline until Friday so the next few days will be brief blogs or as this one is me giving you another review that I actually did on my other blog last year from an author I am very fond of… Stella Duffy. I read this after some fairy tales (oh the irony of that statement on here) and a few other Stella novels prior to this just so you know what I was rambling on about!

Another Stella Duffy book to add to the collection of books of hers this year and I loved it, I loved it, oh how I loved it. I saw Stella Duffy reading from this at this months Polari (a fabulous literary evening in London’s Soho) and the way it started like a fairytale or Greek myth made me move it straight to the top of my TBR. I am so glad that I did. As a child I devoured fairytales like they were going out of fashion and my mother taught classics so I was regularly read the Greek Myths and this novel has something of that magic in it also.

‘Singling Out The Couples’ is a magical modern fairytale. A princess from a land far beyond the tube system arrives in London. Cushla isn’t your average hard done by Princess, this Princess if different for she has no heart. In having no heart the one thing that Cushla hates above all other things is love, and in particular couples in love.

She sets out to break these couples up in anyway she can using her birth given magic. We watch as she separates first Jonathan and Sally (by sleeping with Jonathan), second Martin and Josh (by becoming one of the men’s first female lover) and thirdly Philip and Frances (by finding Frances’s inner lesbian) it’s a metro-sexual fable in its own way. However in the land that is far away not all is well and the king and queen send out her brother to stop her wild antics and to stop her from growing a heart. Does it like a fairytale of old have a happy ending? You will have to read it and find out and seriously you should read it.

Stella Duffy has a way with words, it cannot be put any other way. I don’t mean pretentiously I mean she seems to love words and uses them freely and quite unashamedly which is how it should be, it read slightly like poetry in its own way. That and the mixture of a fairytale is quite a heady mix. I am really surprised that this hasn’t been optioned for TV as I can imagine it making a great three part show (maybe I should get working on that) for winter weekend Sundays.

If you like to be taken to far away lands seeing London through strange stranger’s eyes like I do, then this is a book for you. I enjoyed it no end.

Singling Out The Couples is out now from Virago

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~ by greatgayreads on February 18, 2009.

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