Thursday, May 3, 2012

TAKER Readalikes: Some Like It Dark

I received an email from a fan recently asking for suggestions for other books similar to The Taker. As you can imagine, I was at a loss because as a lot of people have pointed out, my novel has a lot of elements of other books and genres but almost stands alone for what it is.

Recommending another book would depend a lot on what it was about The Taker that you liked. But I’ll go out on a limb and assume that at least some readers were particularly drawn to the darkness in the book. If you enjoy novels that look at the grim realities of life (as do I) and don’t insist on having your stories sugarcoated, I can make a few recommendations of similarly dark historicals though they lack a supernatural element.

Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue. (2001) The NY Times said of Slammerkin, “Whatever it says about our level of enlightenment (and it's probably not good), little seems to tickle us more than the tale of an unscrupulous woman who will stop at nothing to secure the glittery trappings of a better life, only to meet a harsh comeuppance.” Donoghue (author of last year’s smash ROOM) wrote this tale of a young woman who becomes a prostitute to get away from her desperate life. A great piece of writing.

As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann. (2001—what was in the water that year?) I haven’t read this book yet (because of a problem with an ereader…nevermind) but am looking forward to it. It’s described as “a darkly erotic tale of passion and obsession, As Meat Loves Salt is a gripping portrait of England beset by war. It is also a moving portrait of a man on the brink of madness. Hailed as a masterpiece, this is a first novel by a most original new voice in fiction.” This book got great reviews when it came out.

The Nature of Monsters by Clare Clark (2007) I just started reading this novel, which begins with the Great Fire of London in 1666 and continues with a young girl admitting that she has been erotically attracted to a man that she just realized she doesn’t love. According to the story’s description: “She arrives as an apothecary’s maid, a position hastily arranged to shield the father of her unborn child from scandal. But why is the apothecary so eager to welcome her when he already has a maid, a half-wit named Mary? Why is Eliza never allowed to look her veiled master in the face or go into the study where he pursues his experiments? It is only on her visits to the Huguenot bookseller who supplies her master’s scientific tomes that she realizes the nature of his obsession. And she knows she has to act to save not just the child but Mary and herself.” Great writing, and the novel promises to have the right mix of Gothic and erotic.

The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. (2007) This book caused a huge stir when it was released and was one of the big books of 2007. It promised to have everything you’d think I’d like in a book: debauchery, opium dens, wicked dashing men but. . . alas, this was a DNF for me though I may have to give it another try. Here’s the description: “Resonant with echoes of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, Cox's richly imagined thriller features an unreliable narrator, Edward Glyver, who opens his chilling "confession" with a cold-blooded account of an anonymous murder that he commits one night on the streets of 1854 London. That killing is mere training for his planned assassination of Phoebus Daunt, an acquaintance Glyver blames for virtually every downturn in his life. Glyver feels Daunt's insidious influence in everything from his humiliating expulsion from school to his dismal career as a law firm factotum. The narrative ultimately centers on the monomaniacal Glyver's discovery of a usurped inheritance that should have been his birthright, the byzantine particulars of which are drawing him into a final, fatal confrontation with Daunt. Cox's tale abounds with startling surprises that are made credible by its scrupulously researched background and details of everyday Victorian life. Its exemplary blend of intrigue, history and romance mark a stand-out literary debut.”

1 comment:

  1. I have not read any of these books, but some of them sound fascinating. Thanks for sharing these books. I really like seeing books that are similar, but I still think yours is a bit outside the box compared to these.