Madame Zero by Sarah Hall
Sarah Hall, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Sarah Hall is a writer I stumbled across while reviewing books for Things and Ink magazine a few years back. Without delving into the world of self-published erotica, there’s a surprisingly small number of novels with a tattoo theme. Then I discovered The Electric Michelangelo. This has become one of my favourite books of all time and has lead me to devour as much of Sarah Hall’s work as I possibly can.
Madame Zero is a collection of short stories, including her BBC National Short Story Award-winning tale, Mrs Fox. Every one of these nine stories centres around identity. Hall questions what makes us who we are with psychology, sexuality and a poetic touch. Is it society? How we are raised? Or whatever chemicals are rushing through our brain at a certain moment?
One of Sarah Hall’s talents is being able to write something so dark and cutting in such a beautiful way you can’t help but admire how disturbing it is. Whether it’s a husband admiring his wife after she turns in to a fox or a small boy with no sense of himself after being raised in a commune, there is always a dark undertone to these tales that I simply adore. She tricks you as a reader, especially during the last story in the collection. You think the story is going in one direction, a passionate explosion of a relationship, only to pull the rug from under you with the reason. Sarah Hall can never be accused of being predictable.
Look no further for unique, thought-provoking stories you’ll never forget as Madame Zero is it.