Black Swan, £7.99
A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String, By Joanne Harris: Book review
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books, 2013, and is currently a judge of the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and the Independent Scholastic New Children's Prize 2014.
Friday 06 December 2013
Post Chocolat, Harris became known as the novelist who deftly wove food into fiction, but many in this generic medley of short stories are food free.
Strongly plotted and written in registers that are variously comical, sad and surreal, they offer a quick hit for readers. Many are about hauntings, from a virtual profile that takes on a life of its own in "Would You Like to Reconnect?" ("no-one really dies online") to the house that controls its resident in "Dee Eye Why".
Best of all is "Cookie", where delicious gluttony – Harris's forte – gathers a sharp note of menace.
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