Face transplants

This subject matter is rather yucky. Very, very yucky, really, if you think about it. Before I read Sara’s Face when it was first out, I emailed Melvin Burgess to see if he wanted to reassure me that it wasn’t going to be too disgusting. No, he didn’t. He more or less said that it was going to be horrendous.

Ah well. I read it anyway, and it wasn’t too bad. I mean, it’s a good story, as you’d expect from Melvin. But it’s got a high yuck-factor. Daughter snatched it off me, naturally, and we ended up reading it in tandem, with two bookmarks. It was another of those books where Daughter simply doesn’t want to take part in ordinary life until the book’s done.

Sara’s Face is out in paperback this week, and if you’re looking for something that little bit extra, then go to the Spinebreakers website to watch the video logs they’ve recorded, based on the ones Sara records in the book.

The book originally came out just after the first real face transplant, but it was written before that took place. Melvin was obviously feeling the right vibes.

Sara is being used and manipulated by rock star Jonathon Heat, who is after Sara’s face, to replace his own mutilated face. In usual Melvin style the story is told by several people, each one casting a different light on what goes on.

It is pretty gruesome, but the worst of it almost vanishes with the reader’s dislike for Sara’s willingness to put up with it all. There are many twists and turns, and you’re never entirely sure what to believe.

If you’re not sqeamish – read it. If you are, consider carefully if you dare.


4 responses to “Face transplants

  1. Sounds intriguing! Particularly with the pop-star element, the theme of perhaps sacrificing one’s own face/personality for one’s paper idol. Makes me also think of today’s obsession with Facebook, for some reason.

    Never actually read any Burgess. I suspect I was put off by Anne Fine (whose work I love) when she tore into one of his books for being too explicit. That sort of thing doesn’t bother me, so I suppose I should ignore Anne on this one occasion.

  2. Yes, forget Anne Fine just now. She was a bit out of context.

    You would enjoy Melvin’s books I think. Particularly the non-sex/drugs books. Start with Tiger Tiger, considering your cat background. Mind you, there’s sex in that too.

    Look out for my Melvin interview which is in the process of being baked right now.

  3. No! Don’t start with Tiger Tiger! Not one of his finest. Start with Cry of the Wolf, his debut novel for which he was shortlisted for the Carnegie, or Baby and Fly Pie, and then work your way up to the matchless Bloods – Bloodtide and Bloodsong, which are modern classics.

    I only got online to ask Bookwitch if she could possibly email me her non Bookwitch email, so I can get in touch to suggest some author interviews (I’m a children’s book publicist) so, apologies for butting in, but, hey, it’s my job!

  4. Bookbitch, you are very nearly right. But my suggestion to Nick was coming from what I’m reading right now, which is Nick’s second book, Cat’s Paw. Tiger Tiger would fit in beautifully, considering his cattiness, if he doesn’t mind me calling it that. And Nick, we’re not really fighting over you. Just looks like it.

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