Comes the Night by Hollis Hampton-Jones
25th Jul 2011
That’s an ambitious claim for a novel featuring spoilt American teenage twins playing at Parisian living, incestuous undertones and a narrator dabbling in drugs, casual sex and an eating disorder.
It could be tempting to dismiss Comes the Night as taboo-by-numbers, an intoxicating cocktail of Xanax, vin de Bordeaux, sex and silences with a seething subtext of jealousy and insecurity.
But while bratty nineteen-year-old Meade may irritate with her continual obsessing over her twin brother Ben Ho and the contents of her stomach, her experiences are recounted with such gorgeous languages and imagery that all is soon forgiven.
Eyes are like ink-blots and bridges are “stitches the bind the gash that cuts Paris in half.” By turns beautiful and uncomfortable, Comes the Night is a story of alienation, detachment and deterioration.
Drawing from her own experiences as a model in Paris, Hollis Hampton-Jones deftly describes Meade’s immersion into the fashion industry and her turbulent affair with her photographer in stark, cinematic style.
While often unsettling and on occasion more about style than substance, Comes the Night is a haunting and vivid book, by an author I’ll be watching with interest.
Can’t wait that long? We’ve got a copy of Comes the Night to give away. To be in with a chance to win, leave us a comment on this post and we’ll choose a winner next Monday 8th August.
Rating: 3/5. It may not be The Bell Jar or The Virgin Suicides, but it is bold, brave and beautifully written.
Other recommended reading: For rich lyrical language recounting dark and decadent tales of the fashion industry, read Mary Gaitskill’s Veronica. For dreamy descriptions of an obsessive sibling relationship set in Paris, try twins Théo and Isa in Gilbert Adair’s The Dreamers, or Isabel and Rocco by Anna Stothard.