Anneliese Mackintosh - Any Other Mouth (5 stars)

Anneliese Mackintosh - Any Other Mouth

An unnerving debut that sits at the intersection between short story collection, novel and memoir

Jagged pieces of a woman’s life gradually coalesce into a narrative in an unnerving debut that sits at the intersection between short story collection, novel and memoir. With the tantalising promise that 68% of the story she tells us is true, Mackintosh presents us with fragments of what may or may not be her life – a whirl of sex and death, of fucking up your PhD and realising that your parents are both fallible and mortal in a dizzying, non-linear selection of beautifully crafted snapshots.

In the nuclear fallout of her father’s death, narrator Gretchen revisits moments of her life through interlinked short stories that are bawdy, tragic and mundane by turns. Jumping back and forth between adult grief, childhood drama and a university career laced with industrial rock and dubious sexual choices, Mackintosh manages the impressive feat of laying bare her broken heart, dysfunctional family and insecurities in a way that seduces rather than invites pity, a vein of wry humour running through even the darkest moments. She tells her story piecemeal in a jumbled way that intrigues rather than frustrates, leading us on a twisting path through half-truths, reminding us that memory is subjective and hindsight is never as perfect as we think it is.

Accurately described as one of the UK’s most exciting new voices, Mackintosh presents a hybrid medium which is the perfect vehicle for her talent, fashioning a claustrophobically intimate but compelling sequence of stories from painfully raw material.

Published by Freight on Mon 9 Jun.

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