I’ll begin this review by saying that this was the first novel I’ve been gifted and the first ever blogging event I have been to, so in many ways Elle Nash’s explosive, dark and sexually charged coming of age novel moved me into a new space with this blog.
Blogging has given me the opportunity to read novels which I might not normally have read. Animals Eat Each Other is one such book.
The novel tells the story of a nameless young woman who embarks on a three-way relationship with Matt, a Satanist, and new mum Frankie. A lost young woman who is still discovering herself, she is thrown into a complex yet rigid relationship in which she finds a degree of sexual freedom. As the couple brand her with the name Lilith she walks a tightrope between intense pain and pleasure, but how long can she last?
The power of Nash’s writing is to throw you into this world which might seem a little unfamiliar. And she does it swiftly. Lilith is an ambivalent and indifferent narrator, but not unlikable. Instead her conspiring and conversational style makes the story feel like a tale told late at night, perhaps over a few beers (or more fittingly whisky).
I was lucky enough to get to sit down with Elle, to hear her read from the novel and to hear more about her writing process. It was fascinating to hear that she wanted to play around with the standard conventions of genres like erotica and the coming of age novel.
There were moments when I felt the narration was lacking, that more detail was needed or that some more time could have been spent exploring the leading characters. In my personal opinion Nash does lean at times towards telling rather than showing, but this is her debut novel and her writing is compelling.
The whole tale whips along at lightning speed with all of the intensity of the relationship between Matt, Frankie and Lilith. On that relationship, somehow Nash manages to make their unconventional relationships have moments of convention, of genuine connection and domesticity which might be somewhat unusual in the relationship set up.
This novel has so much power and promise. I don’t think it was perfect but as I’ve said above it’s a complicated and compulsive read, and I will be picking up Nash’s next offering because there is just something about her writing which has piqued my curiosity.