Greyglass by Tanith Lee. Immanion Press £10.99
Reviewed by Peter Coleborn
This is a strange little book (just 190 pages). It begins with a visit to Susan’s creepy Grandmother’s creepy house – the vegetable house because it seems to grow rooms, and is surrounded by a mass of verdant plant life. Ergo, it’s going to be a supernatural story – oh, good! But as one reads the book, and as Susan grows from child to young woman to adult, it seems to abandon the paranormal…
Susan’s mother, Anne, meets a man called Wizz, runs off to the USA with him, and then rarely sees her daughter – just a few flying visits back to the UK. When we first meet Wizz he comes across as a dodgy character. A bit of a wide boy.
As Susan grows she goes to college, meets men, has sex, moves home several times, and eventually ends up living in a flat next to Crissie, a prostitute. With each change in her life it seems as if the story veers off at an unexpected angle. And just when I thought, despite the subtle hints Tanith Lee drops into the narrative, the supernatural element was just wistful thinking … Ms Lee ties up most of the loose ends just about perfectly. (Most, because this book does leave tantalising elements dangling – characters disappearing from Susan’s life; resolving her mother’s problems…)
I have to say, Greyglass is a quirky read. It’s as if Tanith Lee plays with syntax, repeating phrases, leaving half-finished thoughts. I am sure this is all deliberate, to mirror Susan’s disjointed life. Once you get into the swing, it’s a fast and enjoyable read (yes, okay, with a nice supernatural dénouement). Recommended.