The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall

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The Electric Michelangelo (eBook)




Cy Parks grew up in the seaside town of Morcambe Bay, living with his mother Reeda in the guest house they run. Reeda’s nursing nature makes the guest house a haven for elderly residents or holiday makers suffering from consumption (Tuberculosis). Exposed to the downfalls of the human body and the ravages of illness from an early age, he’s repulsed to begin with but eventually becomes immune. Opening the guest house to the sickest of the community also guarantees their income and as Cy’s father passed away at sea on the day he was born, it’s down to him and his Mother to support themselves.

One day, while mucking around with a few of his friends, Cy briefly meets a man that will change his life forever. Years later the same man, Eliot Riley, admires Cy’s drawings and offers him a tattoo apprenticeship. Oblivious to the skills required to tattoo, all Cy knows is the stigma that surrounds the business. Eliot was an outcast, a drunk that he wasn’t sure he wanted to be associated with but after the first time he set foot in Eliot’s tattoo studio, he was smitten by the sights and smells. Never before had he seen images so fluid and beautiful, etched into the skin.

Years pass before Cy is even allowed to tattoo a customer, forced to build equipment and practice on himself in both the traditional tapping method and electric driven styles. His love hate relationship with his teacher, Eliot drives him to the edge of madness, his constant berating, put downs and drunken escapades often make Cy wonder if he’s made the right decision but he never gives up.

Times change in Morcambe Bay and Cy finds It riddled with ghosts more than hope so he gathers what few possessions he owns and heads to America. He soon finds himself in the one place that welcomes his talent with a needle, Coney Island, home to freak shows, misfits and tattoo artists from across the world. In one of the most unique places and during a time of extreme change, Cy discovers a new home, the love of his life, incredible friends and pain he will never shake.

The Electric Michelangelo plot may start slightly slowly, setting scene and characters that influence the plot direction but once Cy starts his tattoo apprenticeship the story really comes to life. The first thing that will strike you is Sarah Hall’s evocative and cutting writing style. She manages to find beauty in what others may pass by as mundane or even grotesque. Her style and plot pulls no punches and there are certain paragraphs on death and violence that are so vividly brutal they’ll take your breath away.  Sarah Halls’ insight into the tattoo world during this period of time and the views on tattooing are also incredibly realistic.  The characters are bursting with life and every now and then she unravels one so clearly in just a few sentences. An example of this is when she exposes the mental anguish of one of the strong women of Coney Island in a truly heartbreaking way.  Although Sarah Hall conveys a love and respect for the art, there is no romantic whimsy that some novels imply but a truly honest portrayal of a man pushing his art. Unflinching, powerful, passionate and gritty that is moving in a way that will stay with you for years.





To buy The Electric from Amazon click here

To buy The Electric from Waterstones click here.




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