Review: Visceral and muscular prose

Posted on Jun 30, 2015 | 0 comments

Review: Visceral and muscular prose

Bottle and Glass is a tantalizing work of fiction anchored in careful historical research.  In visceral and muscular prose, Morgan Wade paints a sea-salted and gripping portrait of early nineteenth century English empire on Turtle Island.  In his second novel, the master storyteller compels our attention using thoroughly grounded and unromantic brushstrokes that depict early colonial life, with all of its messy and at-times violent implications.  Readers will revel in the evocative and palpable descriptions of life at sea under the thumb of the British navy.  Wade revels in his command of period English, and his raw talent for paced, fluid writing never disappoints.

“Hobnails clattered against the broad rib of granite-porphyry shaping the moor, resonating through the inn’s foundation, up dry-rotted posts, and along scuffed oak planks. Miniature cat’s paws, a mariner’s telltales, ruffled the surface of swanky-filled mugs.”

This book will be of interest to readers interested in a complex and expansive set of perspectives on a period in which the disorder of early imperialism and war helped birth both new ideas and problems.  It will appeal to anyone with a taste for well-crafted descriptions and strong narratives that are conscious of, and attentive to themes of oppression on multiple bases – whether social class, gender or culture – as a function of growing empire.  In its spirit and execution, it is reminiscent of Boyden or Atwood’s social consciousness.  Best served with something strong, dark and tasty, the novel also functions as an analysis of the role of alcohol in the social history of colonialism.  Readers are dared not to get thirsty for more from this gifted author.”


Adam Davidson-Harden

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