Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Savages

The Savages
Matt Whyman
London, Hot Key, 2013, 280p

This is a deliciously disturbing treat of a novel. It is unconventional in it's subject and it's style, but I found myself strangely enticed.

The Savages are a close knit and private family, spanning three generations. Grandpa is getting pretty aged, starting to forget things like where the bathroom is located. Angelica and Titus are caring parents, cautious about protecting their children. Sasha is a typical teenager, with all the worries that come with boys and friends; Ivan is a mischievous boy whose pranks never turn out how he wants them to; and baby Kat is learning her first words.

Titus' business transactions catch the attention of a private investigator, who becomes instantly enthralled by the family when a model goes missing after a film shoot at the Savage's house. Vernon eavesdrops on the family, installing a bug in the house and following the children around. He has no idea what he has gotten himself in for - the Savages are not as they initially appear.

This is not an action-packed thrill of a novel, but a slow meander through a strange little house. The family are charming, their relationship is heart-warming. Rarely does a novel with so little story keep me reading on, but the language and form of Whyman's writing was irresistible. I love black comedy, and this is the most sardonic novel I have read recently.
Food is an essential element to this novel, but I would not recommend eating whilst you read - dark, gorey sceens come out of nowhere and ruin your appetite. The descriptions of the meals are incredibly vivid, making me wonder how experiemental Whyman is with his cooking.

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