Sunday, 21 July 2013

Book Review: I Haven't Lived At All by Evelyn Knightley

As most of you know my first love is actually not nail polish it is literature. Books are something that call to me on a most basic level. The written word is something that has always fascinated me, hence why I studied English Literature at University. What you might not know is that I am also a keen writer, you know those random periods of time that I am suddenly not blogging? Yeah that is me writing. I have been lucky to have a couple of my pieces published but It has always been my dream to take my writing to the next level. This is why I was so interested to review Evelyn's anthology because she has taken that next step and gotten her book self-published, which is something I really admire.

Isn't that cover beautiful? 

I Haven't Lived At All is a collection of poetry and short prose collected together in a concise and thoughtful collection. The first thing that struck me with this collection was the two distinct sections, first the poetry and later the prose which made reading the book from cover to cover much more easy-going. 

The book itself deals with some dark and thought provoking subjects, yet is juxaposed with the promise of light and hope. What really is it to say you have lived? The lexis is simple yet manages to engulf itself in deep philosophical and essentialist issues but at the same time is a pleasing and a easy read. 

The first poem 'On The Moon' is the perfect opener, a soul-searching and reflectional piece that deals with the overarching theme of 'moreness'-never to be content but to strive for that ultimate goal. 

The thing that really comes across for me when reading this is the sense of Knightley's voice. Her poems and prose talk of escapism and striving for more and fundamentally that is why this book has been published in the first place.  Later in the anthology Evelyn briefly talks about her short time at University before returning home to write this book. Maybe then this is a self gratifying venture on the part of the author? But does it really matter? The content is entrancing either way and seems to lace each turn of the page with the physical progression towards that ultimate goal of feeling fulfilled and having 'lived', which in this collection seems to coincide with the finishing of writing/reading this book. It is a personal journey but Knightley is taking the reader along for the duration and it makes the reader (even if it is something we would rather not do) reflect on their own life at the same time.

I am going to share with you my favourite poem from the collection below and whet your taste buds for what you can expect from the anthology:

Paper Screams

When I was a child,
I would cry
and no one ever heard me.
So I would scream
and no one ever heard me.

It's much like that today,
but sometimes being silent
is a lot like being dead.
So my body fight out
with these paper screams.
Stained and creased 
and carved with ink.

These paper screams are silent too, 
because no one ever heard me.

This is a very mature, sincere and interesting read that is as much difficult to stop pondering on when you finish the book as it is easy to read in the first place. The one thing that is sure is that, Evelyn, it is not a case that you 'haven't lived at all' but you are living right now.  How does it feel to be so alive?  In a world where we are always striving to better ourselves, arms outstretched reaching towards that ideal, Evelyn you are skimming yours with your fingertips. Go grab hold of it!

 This anthology is available from the 14th August for £6.99 and pre-orders are currently available at: .

You can find out more information at Elevelyn's website, Facebook and Twitter

 The inclusion of this graphic means that the product above was sent to me for review. All opinions are honest and all information is correct at the time of writing.

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