A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to work with the talented author Mark Towse and read his fantastic novella: Nana. Today, I am going to share a spoiler-free review of his story. It was published in March 2021 and is now very popular on Bookstagram. A big thank you to Mark for sending me a copy. He is such a kind person and a fellow Melbournian author. You will be seeing more of this writer on my blog, so stay tuned for that. Without further ado, lets get into it!
Nana: a term of endearment used in some countries for one’s Grandma. Some say the title is derived from the Italian word for Grandmother, Nonna. Another theory is that it stems from the word Nanny; i.e., someone who takes care of children.
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 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…
For a novella that is just shy of 100 pages, there are a lot of unique and quirky characters that pop up in this story. We have the outrageous residents of Newhaven Crescent, as well as Olly and his family. We also meet Alex, the paperboy, who makes a bigger appearance later on. The oldies featured in this book carry exaggerated personas of people we could identify with in real life. I’m sure we all have a relative similar to one of the crazy individuals Mark has created. Their antics and kooky behaviour contributed to my fun reading experience. I couldn’t wait to see what they would say or do next. They are grossly inappropriate and vulgar, but that’s what makes them stand out. I can only hope to be as vivacious and full of energy when I’m that age!
THE WRITING STYLE
Mark writes in a way that is accessible to all readers. He can switch from the perspective of a child to an elderly woman with ease. He’s also hilarious! I cannot remember the last time a book made me laugh so hard. I had to stifle my cackles, so as not to wake my sleeping toddler. The dialogue is dry, quick-witted and pushes boundaries. If you’re squeamish, prepare for some grotesque, bodily scenes. This story is not for the faint of heart. The descriptions are vivid, giving the reader a front-row imaginative seat to what Olly witnesses during his visit. The majority of the horror stems from the dark secrets kept by the residents. This book gave me major The Stitchers by Lorien Lawrence vibes. Despite guessing early on what was coming, nothing could have prepared me for the ending. It disturbed and intrigued me at the same time. This is the sign of solid writing. Not a lot needs to be said, to make a big impact.
I gave this 5/5 stars. It was really enjoyable and highly entertaining.
Once again a huge thank you to Mark for giving me such a great opportunity. I hope you liked my review. If you’re interested in ordering a copy, please click here. Don’t forget to leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads!
Thank you for reading
Peace & Love xoxo