Book Review: Nana
My own mortality was never on my mind as a child. Exuberance and life to the fullest for me. But the older I get the more I think about getting old. My own aging is disconcerting to me, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the disturbing contents of Mark Towse’s creepy debut novella.
SUMMARY: Meet Olly’s nana, Ivy. It takes more than clean dentures, brandy, and bingo night to keep this one happy!Nana Ivy lives in Newhaven Crescent, where most of the other residents are past their expiry date and all kinds of batshit crazy, the kind of place where you hang your sanity up at the door.Being the matriarchal type, Ivy cares for the other residents as though they were kin, so of course, it’s of enormous concern when their veins begin to blacken and they start shedding skin, not to mention the glistening things crawling out of their hair. They’re pushing their luck, and Nana Ivy knows it. Did I mention she has a dark secret?Young Olly doesn’t know what to make of it when he comes to visit, but he’s about to find out there’s more to his nana than cough drops and slippers. Oh yes, he’s in for a long night.
Although I have fond memories of my grandparents, there is something subconsciously unnerving about old people. Here the fear of aging and the elderly is taken to the extreme. The story plays out mostly through the eyes of a 12 year old boy, trapped for the night in a suburban community where his Nana resides. There is something very wrong with residents, but the author allows the mystery to build until it reaches a breaking point in the final act. The book cycles through a large cast of characters in a relatively short amount of time, but I never felt lost or confused. Towse does a great job of painting them each with their own personalities and quirks. He also does a great job of describing the aging process in excessively gross ways. Thanks for the queasy stomach Mark!
I loved the restrained pacing of this one. It takes its time introducing you to the main characters as we follow the boy on his paper route around the community. Then we head off to a certain “community event” and that’s when things really get wild. There are some moments that drag a little, but they are punctuated with enough shock and hilarity (seriously, laughed out loud in parts) that it didn’t bother me too much. And the story builds to a climactic scene that simply has to be read to be believed. So get reading!
If you want to learn more about Mark Towse and his work then check out his website: www.marktowsedarkfiction.wordpress.com. You can also follow him on Instagram (@towseywrites), Twitter (@MarkTowsey12), and Goodreads (). If you want to buy his books then head over to his page on Amazon.