Tag Archives: Kirstin Innes

Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes

Scabby Queen Kirstin InnesI read a proof copy of Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes back in April, when it was originally due to be published, but its release date in the UK was pushed back to July due to the pandemic. It tells the story of Clio Campbell, a one-hit-wonder Scottish pop star and political activist who takes her own life just before she turns 51, some three decades after a brief period of fame as the singer of the anti-poll tax anthem ‘Rise Up’.

Clio’s suicide isn’t a spoiler as it is revealed right at the beginning of the book when her body is discovered by her friend Ruth. The story then jumps back and forth in time looking back at Clio’s life with each part retold by a selection of people who knew Clio from very different perspectives. The non-linear story is slightly confusing initially, but I really got into it by the second half as the glimpses of Clio’s life through the eyes of others gradually come together to reveal an affecting character portrait of someone who is very vulnerable in lots of ways behind the outspoken public facade.  Continue reading

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Four Other Books I’ve Read So Far in 2016

Here are some short reviews of a few other books I’ve been reading since Christmas:

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes Caitlin DoughtySmoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematorium by Caitlin Doughty is an informative and thought-provoking memoir about the death industry written by a mortician seeking to demystify a taboo topic feared by almost everyone. Stories of burial practices, death rituals and cultural attitudes from around the world and throughout history are interwoven with Doughty’s personal experiences including the circumstances which led her to start working at Westwind Crematorium in San Francisco nearly a decade ago at the age of 23. Doughty’s sense of humour is appropriately dark without being disrespectful as she recounts some of her more memorable experiences at the crematorium and challenges readers to confront their own mortality. As much about life as it is about death, ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ is a fascinating look at a widely misunderstood career choice, although not a book I would recommend to the very squeamish or recently bereaved. Continue reading

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