Welcome to my review of Attend by West Camel, on this cold #Orentober morning! Attend is something special, not only is it a fabulous debut, but it’s also the book that helped to birth Orentober, well not the book itself but the original review went out and after some comments the Orenda filled month was agreed upon and named! As many of you may know, not only is West an Orenda author, but he’s also an Orenda editor, talk about a man of many talents! I have a Q&A with West himself at the end of the month, so keep your blog reading eyes peeled!
Attend was originally published in e-book format on the 10th of October (so this month is it’s electronic year anniversary!) but was published in paperback on the 13th of December (which actually falls on Friday the 13th this year!). You can grab an electronic copy directly from the Orenda e-store here, or a physical copy from Bert’s Books here! (Buy indie people, it really makes a difference!)
West Camel was born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.
You can follow West on Twitter @west_camel
“When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerizingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.
As the threads of their lives unravel … they find magic under their feet…”
Attend left me emotional, grieving for the characters due to the end of the book (this is not a spoiler, I just wasn’t emotionally ready for the book to finish!) I told West Camel that I was not ready to forgive him because of the beautiful rollercoaster he took me on that left be book hungover, but I am now a fangirl and will no longer expect my feeling to be safe in the hands of his books.
We are firstly introduced to Anne, one of the three main characters of Attend and oh my heart. My initial feeling of Anne is that she’s made huge mistakes in the past that her family and friends just will not let her runaway from. She’s treated like a nuisance, a bad woman but I think she just wants a chance to redeem herself, although no-one has enough faith in her. Anne’s loneliness and need for acceptance radiated of the page.
Sam is what I imagine to be a mid – 20’s guy whose own life experiences has lead him to become addicted to sex, with any man he can find, in any settling. Again, their is a radiance of lack of self – worth and loneliness coming from him. He too yearns for someone who can understand him and love him for who he is.
In walks Deborah, a strange woman whom no – one ever seems to notice, she’s just part of the scenery which can be ignored. That is until one day she is noticed, and my did I love her. I thought of her as a wacky type of Jeremy Cricket with a heart of solid gold. Again, she’s not had the best start in life, and it is so sad! I very rarely find a book where I fall in love with every main character, but my gosh I was head over heals for all three of them. The development of each character as well as the way that the storyline flicked between them, future and past, was flawlessly carried out. I was completely engaged.
The magic of books is that everyone who reads sometimes finds bits of themselves, or feel changed somewhat due to the words on those pages. For me, Attend felt like a euphemism for something bigger, like with a big entanglement of various wools; each different colour wool is an individual’s life and no amount of picking and unknotting with untangle it. Just like life whether we know it or not, we are all tied together with no clear start or finish. You can’t give a clear uncomplicated description of your life without tying in with the thread of others. You can agree with me or not; this is what the book meant to me and as reader’s I think we all have different outlooks on a book, well that was mine.
I love to read the acknowledgements, West states that Attend has had a long gestation period but my gosh the book that has come out of it is astonishingly brilliant. For me it was uplifting (regardless of tears shed) and thought provoking. I also raged a bit about the way that Anne was treated, she didn’t deserve it! Just wanted to hug her! (Yes, yes she isn’t real I know) It’s not all emotional though, West has managed to throw in a sprinkle of magic and a dash of humour which brings out the true shine of this novel.
Attend is a book that I will be shouting about for a long time to come. I recommend this 100%. Thank-you West Camel for writing Attend and sharing it with us readers!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Attend if you’ve read it! How did it make you feel? Let me know in the comment section! Remember, if you do share anything Orenda Books this month, please use hashtag #Orentober!
5 thoughts on “#ThrowBack #BookReview: Attend by West Camel @West_Camel @orendabooks #Attend #Orentober”
Thank you for this review, it’s so heartfelt and passionate that’s it’s really enthused me towards this book! I’ve put it at the top of my TBR list 🙂 The best kind of book is the kind that stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
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Thankyou!! I’m so glad that shone through. It truly is a read I’ll hold close. I love when there is a hidden meaning ❤
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Awesome review. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book.
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Ah it’s such a good read and so thoughtfully written. Thankyou!!