Review Watching Swifts by RJ Askew

cover Watching Swifts

Reviewed by Lucy Pireel

This book is one of those that keeps popping back in your mind. Prose and verse, or verse written as prose entwined with verse.

I was drawn into the mind and world of the swift man. This author has the rare ability to capture his reader with a form of prose which keeps you wanting more. I had to know what happened with him, his antagonist (the female photographer he’s talking to) and the swifts. Yes, the swifts, those lovely birds, the harbingers of summer and hope for better times. When things ended different from any ‘regular’ novel would I was actually glad. I felt happy for the swift man, the swift, and the gardener, I felt sorry for the photographer who inadvertently lost her chance of life anew. Or had she?

The form this novel is written in allows for a play in the head of the reader. It is narration and little dialogue and yet, you can imagine the dialogue that is there nonetheless. A monologue and yet it is not, for he isn’t there alone on stage, on the pages, the other characters are there too. Flesh and bone, you care for them, you loath and turn to feel sorry for them. Or even cheer them on.

The language this author uses has a rhyme and a rhythm to it which almost at times feels archaic, yet very now.

It is a book that touched me. It shows feelings, inner turmoil and resolution to be more than one thinks one can ever be. This book is isn’t one to read swift, but to cherish and reread passages, sentences, for they seem to be unlocking emotions and thoughts on a level not many modern day novels do.

I give this book a solid five star classification and recommend it to all readers ready for something literary for a change instead of the usual summer fluff read.

So, let’s don’t dilly dally and hop over to Amazon (US) or (UK) and get your very own copy of this amazing book.

16 thoughts on “Review Watching Swifts by RJ Askew

  1. Any book that shows successful experimentation with form always has my interest, and your review certainly makes an alluring case for this book.

    • Thanks Jeri, it’s just my two pence, but they are the truth. There aren’t many books that can pull this off, but RJ Askew has the skill and he uses it very well.

  2. I’m so glad others feel the same way about Ron’s amazingly evocative book. I’ve been a fan of his since meeting him on Authonomy two years ago.

  3. Reblogged this on jbwye and commented:
    I came across this review yesterday. Ron Askew is an old friend of mine from Authonomy days, and Watching Swifts is my favourite modern piece of poetic prose. I’ve read it and re-read it, and it lies permanently stored on my kindle. Lucy’s review prompted me to contact Ron again – I’m delighted to announce that he will be featured on my blog in August. Meanwhile, if you havent read Watching Swifts, and even if you dont really like cities (like me), you will love this evocative piece set in the middle of London.

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