My weekend newspaper’s book review section always includes a roundup of the top five
bestsellers in some literary genre: science fiction, historical novels, that
kind of thing. This week, they’re focusing on castration lit. I was
heartened to see that this popular genre is breaking out into the mainstream at
last, so I thought I’d ignore the law on copyright and share the piece with
I expect these
are all available on Amazon, somewhere. Incidentally, isn’t that a great
name for a company?
English-speaking world in 2016 and shows no sign of abating as 2017 draws towards its close. Here are the top five on this month’s
a still more unhappy divorce – until Susan has a brilliant idea to turn her
life around! Her husband Oliver is a deeply
dislikable character whose inevitable end on the cutting table we anticipate
with growing pleasure – and we are not disappointed. In the run up to this satisfying denouement,
however, Susan must first learn about the tools of her trade – and there are newspaper
boys, divorce lawyers and an unfortunate Anglican vicar along the way, to give
her the opportunity. Strictly by the
numbers but if you enjoy scenes of men in agony, pleading in terror to avoid
their richly-deserved fates – and who doesn’t? – this one is for you.
|Rising cast-lit star Liz Folgate, author of Find Out What you Mean to Me.|
delivers it to them in a fifth volume of her popular series. Literary critics affect to despise her
contrived plots and weak characterisation, but no one writes a torture scene
like Layton. Every male character we meet is going to end up strapped to a
wooden block awaiting his fate in terror before too long anyway, so do we
really care much about their motivations?
More than 200 million sales worldwide says that most of us don’t.
|The queen of scream herself, Patricia Layton. Not a believer in cruelty-free fashion!|
all. Julie Melfoy builds her world slowly and with care, inviting the reader
fully to enter it – and readers seeking a slash and scream experience should look
elsewhere, as no cutting occurs at all in the first two-thirds of the
book. John Laurie, the main male character,
is far from the arrogant obnoxious stereotypical man providing the meat in a
typical cast-lit story and Rosie Vinners, his childhood sweetheart, no sadistic
torturess. Yet their relationship seems always fated to end up with him on the
cutting board and the path they take there is richly satisfying. For readers who want literary ‘meat’ as well
as the more ordinary kind, when reading about castration, this book is strongly
|Can men and women ever resolve their differences without resorting to castration? Sins of Omission explores this dilemma with flair and sensitivity. The movie adaptation, pictured above, is eagerly awaited for 2018.|
this witty homage to Austen. Will Mr
Darcy manage to save his family jewels?
Of course not. Austen-lovers will
adore Rawston’s wry and wickedly sadistic take on a classic, others will just
enjoy the inventive use of agricultural tools as Elizabeth and her sisters turn
the tables on their pompous suitors.
|It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good set of genitals must be in want of a gelding knife.|
Dark and complex, this novel turns the established cast-lit
plot on its head. The screaming never lets up, but this is no mere orgy of pain. Instead of meeting a sequence of unpleasant men who will
inevitably receive their just desserts, we are introduced to each character when he is already on the
cutting-table and we learn his story through his desperate confessions. Initially, our sympathies are –
for once – with the men, who seem to be the innocent victims, but the truth is
slowly and oh-so-painfully extracted from them and we come to appreciate and
admire the wielder of the red-hot pincers.
Her story is told only at second hand, through the agonised pleading of the men who have wronged her – but what a tale it is. Be warned: this novel will make you think, it
will make you weep and it may well change your life. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
|All of Endgame takes place in a single room but somehow the novel avoids any feelings of claustophobia. Instead, in its life-affirming conclusion, true freedom is found within the bare stone walls of a torture cell.|