REVIEW by Gee Williams

NWR Issue 101

A Great Big Shining Star

by Niall Griffiths

In A Great Big Shining Star, Niall Griffiths’ seventh book, we first come across dim teenager Grace Allcock being driven home to the unnamed seaside town of her birth. She has just endured extreme rhinoplasty, a Christmas present from her doting and equally dim mother. It wasn’t nice. As we can imagine, though don’t have to because Griffiths proceeds to flashback the event in considerable detail (if you’re squeamish). But calling a clinic ‘a big brown building in a big city’ and then nastying-up the surgical team as ‘masked men’ is a device which can work when the patient is six, naïve and terrified. It seems to ring false as the transferred perception from narrator to protagonist of a sixteen-year-old, notice-hungry Grace for whom Santa’s come a month early. It isn’t easy to see what Griffiths is up to here. Then there’s a long healing process described, a lot of vomiting of blood pancakes – and finally the plot gets into gear...

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previous review: The Scattering
next review: Call Mother a Lonely Field


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