Robin's Reviews > Gotham

Gotham by Nick Earls
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's review
May 12, 2016

it was amazing

I have read this book as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2016.

Gotham is the first novella in the Wisdom Tree series, about what family means to us in the 21st century. Nick Earls is one of my favourite Aussie authors – I have read just about all his books, and this novella of 20 000 words really showcases his skills.

It’s the story of the encounter between music journalist Jeff Foster and famous rapper Na$ti Boi. Jeff has flown to New York to interview him but has also brought his wife and his ill four year old daughter Ariel so that she can receive treatment.

Gotham is a nickname for New York but is also the fictional hometown of Batman. There are no superheros in this story – just ordinary people trying to do their best with what life has thrown at them. Na$ti Boi, despite his emotionally impoverished upbringing, is a totally unsympathetic character, a perfect representation of the superficial, narcissistic culture of celebrity.

Smokey, his manager who is also his cousin, has to sacrifice the needs of his family to those of Na$ti Boi. He and Jeff bond over their children and in an encounter in the park, Smokey helps Jeff to let go of his fears for Ariel’s safety and allow her to experience the adventure of being a normal child.

The style of writing is deft, yet evocative. Earls is superb at conveying the subtle undertones and layers of relationships, putting into words what we have often unconsciously experienced ourselves. As an author myself I fully appreciate the skill involved in novella writing – every word has to earn its keep.

I liken Gotham to a baked custard – it looks light, but it’s full of texture and depth and leaves you satisfied for hours – until your next craving for a baked custard/novella.

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Reading Progress

May 7, 2016 – Started Reading
May 8, 2016 – Finished Reading
May 12, 2016 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Pippa Kay (new)

Pippa Kay I agree with you Robin. I read Gotham first then read the other four novellas in the Wisdom Tree series. They're all good, and there are links between the stories in that some of the characters re-surface in other stories even if very briefly. I'm very impressed with Nick Earls after reading these as well as the novella. Now trying to write one myself.

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