Coming across a new favorite writer is a magical occurrence. And from the first chapter, I read of Kirsty’s Logan The Gracekeepers the magic jumped right off the page.
Who is Kirsty Logan?
Kirsty Logan (1984) is the Scottish author of 2 novels The Gracekeepers and The Gloaming and 2 short story collections; The Rental Heart and Other Stories and my personal favorite A Portable Shelter. In October 2019 her newest book Things We Say In The Dark will be released.
Simply put, if Kirsty Logan announces a new book, I will pre-order it. Her books are magical, sprinkles of fairytales and mythology are mixed into stories of what it means to be human. And not to forget, her prose is simple but stunning. There’s a melodic quality to her writing. And whenever I open a new Kirsty Logan book, I’m immediately transported to another world, much like our own but just with a bit more sparkle.
And she writes the most beautiful LGBT representation, which is a thing I will always welcome in books.
“The world was so full of magic then that Mara didn’t always know when she was awake and when she was dreaming.”
I first came across Kirsty Logan’s work when I bought the Gracekeepers, a book about a floating circus and two young women searching for a home. And with a beautiful cover to match, I was definitely interested in this one. I read the book in May 2016 and was immediately hooked. The story just resonated with me and although I didn’t want this book to finish, I finished it within a couple of days. Completely awestruck and immediately on the hunt for other writings of this author.
I’ve since then bought every book by Kirsty Logan, and am looking forward to exploring many more of her books. And even found a signed copy of her first book The Rental Heart and Other Stories while browsing Foyles, life was very good that day haha.
Where to start?
Although I think you could start with any of her books, I would recommend starting with The Gracekeepers. Because it’s not only a beautiful piece of fiction, it shows off Logan’s signature writing but also creates an entirely new world for the reader to get lost in.
It was the book that got me into the Kirsty Logan fan club haha. And I’ve recommended it to so many since I’ve read it.
And if you’re a lover of short stories, I’d recommend checking out The Portable Shelter. Because this is not your ordinary short-story collection.
The stories are linked together through two women telling them. Liska and Ruth are expecting their first child, and to pass the time they tell their unborn child stories. Stories about all the lessons they’ve learned in life, about loss, identity, and life. But also tales of circuses and stargazing, selkie fishermen and domestic werewolves, child-eating witches and broken-toothed dragons.
My favorite book by Kirsty Logan is The Gloaming. Her latest novel released in 2018. And this says something about Logan’s skill too; her books just keep getting better!
The Gloaming on Logan’s own website is described as ‘a queer mermaid love story set on a remote Scottish island that turns people to stone.’ And I couldn’t give a more accurate description haha. But in more detail, it’s the story of Mara and her family’s island. An island full of stories and magic, where at the end of her days, she’ll walk up the cliff and turn to stone. As many have done before her.
But the sea and island do what they want, and when something is taken the family is left to deal with the scars. And it takes Pearl, to light a spark in Mara again, and to re-write her own story.
‘She kissed Pearl’s forehead, the tip of her nose, her bottom lip. She didn’t know what she was doing, her hands and mouth so clumsy, so unsure – and it didn’t matter, not at all, because with Pearl everything was the way that it was, not right or wrong, not a test she could pass or fail, not a way of being she had to strive for or fight against. It just was, and they just were. Together.’
This book made my heart hurt and sing, sometimes at the same time. There’s imagery in this book that could bring tears to my eyes right the moment I’m writing this. This story focuses on a family, an island, stories, hope, grief, and love. And it is magical.
Kirsty Logan is a unique writer, I’ve never read anything like her books. With her books, you don’t only collect a beautiful picture, but a story that will stay with you. Her books are little sparkles of magic, I can’t wait to read many more from her.
→ ‘Author Spotlight’ is a series on booksandmacchiatos.com where I try to highlight a favorite author every month. Do check out the menu to check out the previous spotlights. And if you liked reading this post, please tap the little heart, it lets me know to continue on with this series.