View Gallery

Attend

Published Date: 9th July 2018

Available in

$0

EBook
9781912374403
£5.99
10 October 2018
Paperback
9781912374397
£8.99
13 December 2018

Description

Under their feet lies magic…

.

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.

Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

.

’With its blend of dark, gritty themes and gorgeous imagery, this is a book to make you believe there’s still magic in the world’ Heat 

.

‘There is such a joy to the language. West Camel is a truly gifted wordsmith, and a beautiful storyteller’ Louise Beech

.

‘Delicate, evocative prose telling an intriguing story with contemporary relevance, insight and compassion’ Live and Deadly

.

‘Gritty, yet beautifully written; fantastical, yet down-to-earth; gripping and moving’ A Discount Ticket to Everywhere

.

‘An intricate piece of work, showing off author West Camel’s skill in weaving words and phrases together to create a great debut novel’ Off-The-Shelf Books

.

‘Up to date, gritty and dark yet filled with a magic that is unique and uplifting. Attend is adventurous, charming and utterly compelling’ Random Things Through My Letterbox

..

‘A literary Eastenders, with precision language and beautifully interwoven storytelling … I couldn’t put it down’ Liz Loves Books

..

‘Oh my, I have quite fallen in love with this absolutely glorious and spellbinding tale. A wonderful infusion of themes means ‘Attend’ quite rightly, refuses to be labelled. Set in Deptford, London the streets, houses, and locations are as eloquently described and important as the characters. Skirting the violent criminal underbelly of the town and exploring the struggle of addiction, the story hovers within touching distance of an unseen mysterious power that planted itself in my mind and continued to lurk and explore my thoughts and feelings. The enigmatic and almost otherworldly Deborah sits centre stage, acting as a magnet, weaving Sam and Anne into her story. ‘Attend’ has a deliciously dark fairy tale quality that sits alongside the heartfelt realism of life quite beautifully. This is West Camel’s debut, his writing is alluring and sang out to me, I simply cant wait to see what comes next. I recommend ‘Attend’ with every fibre of my being, it has must-read stamped all over it … a beautiful contemporary must-read story full of soul, darkness, and magical light’ Liz Robinson, Love Reading

Author

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing.  He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch.  He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.

Online Reviews

‘This is magical writing of the highest quality that will transport any reader to the darkest corners of Deptford. These are real people; people that have had the hardest of knocks and the most troubled of lives, yet they can be transformed by the magic of an old woman’s memories. There’s a huge sadness running through Attend. The sadness of lives that have been wasted, of regrets and hidden secrets. There’s also a sense of joy; little sparks throughout the story that scream of hope and redemption and an ending that seems to release the characters from their mistakes. Up to date, gritty and dark yet filled with a magic that is unique and uplifting. Attend is adventurous, charming and utterly compelling’ Random Things Through My Letterbox

.

‘It’s a great feeling when you realise very early in a book that you are in for a treat. West Camel’s writing is stunning, his characters who all give me the impression of being very lonely are ones that I think about constantly. Deborah especially, with her life story and the thing that she is desperate for. The accounts of her childhood are very moving and had me thinking of stories passed down in my own family. It’s not only the people, I don’t know Deptford at all but I can visualise the old and the new. The history, being slowly pushed away by the newer buildings‘ Steph’s Book Blog

 .

‘I have never read anything like this book before. I had expected it to be a crime novel with mention of drug related crime in the synopsis. But, while there is violence it is more about the emotion that the acts cause. The reasons why the violence has to occur and the loyalty portrayed by the friends and family of the people responsible. And bizarrely the lack of sympathy to the victim …  It’s a great feeling when you realise very early in a book that you are in for a treat. West Camel’s writing is stunning, his characters who all give me the impression of being very lonely are ones that I think about constantly … When I was reading the acknowledgments I realised that the areas mentioned exist. I then spent a fascinating hour looking at local history websites and photos on the internet. Wonderful book with a fascinating setting’  Stephanie Rothwell 

.

‘I adored Camel’s prose as each word is perfectly pitched to draw you in, intrigue you and make you fall a little in love with each character. He has managed to combine historical fiction, magical realism and modern grit which, in all probability, shouldn’t work but it works wonderfully … The writing is sublime and Attend is a book that is rich in imagery and metaphor, leaving me thinking about it, and feeling it, long after the final page was read. It is a beautifully spun tale that defies being pigeonholed into a genre. A delicately balanced tapestry that combines current social issues, history and a little bit of magic, Attend is an assured debut by a talented writer. Lovers of literary fiction will adore it’ Bloomin Brilliant Books

 .

‘West has a storytelling style all of his own, his voice coming through loud and clear, and as this is his debut, believe it or not, I feel that this is a great portent of things to come (unless he’s blown all of his literary beans on this one book and never, ever writes again. Please, West, don’t let this be so  ). Attend is a truly stunning debut; a story of the power of story itself, of legend, history, friendships and…tapestry. Seriously. This book will have you racing for your grandmother’s, or grandfather’s, needlework box and you’ll be embroidering anything you can get your hands on. You’ll be a right pain in the arse and people will start to complain that everything from the curtains to the dog blanket is covered in tiny, detailed stitches. Or maybe not, but it will give you a greater appreciation for the art of storytelling, in whatever form it takes’ Beardy Book Blogger

.

‘Attend is a nod in the direction of magical realism with a noirish quality and yet simultaneously filled with the brusque reality of our modern world. The collusion between these different worlds culminates in an extraordinary piece of fiction’ Cheryll MM Book Blog

.

‘Please pardon the pun but this is a beautifully woven story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It has its darker moments, which to be honest, I’m always a fan of but there were softer, more gentle periods too … I really appreciated that you can’t really categorise this novel. It’s such a heady mixture of contemporary fiction with a dashing of historical and crime elements and a sprinkling of magical realism … From that beautiful front cover, to an equally beautiful story within the pages, Attend is an imaginative piece of work that will touch your heart and potentially make you believe in magic all over again’ Bibliobeth

.

‘This is a very interesting plot and one which I haven’t encountered before. I particularly enjoyed how the author weaved a historical fiction element into the story without this necessarily being a book that I would ‘class’ as historical fiction. Attend is the kind of book I think many people would enjoy regardless of what books they are usually drawn towards. I could really see this book making a brilliant book club read as there are so many possible themes for discussion’ Bucks Books and Beyond

.

‘This is one of those books that is so very hard to describe, hard to position in terms of narrative style or even genre … The image we are presented with is all at once poignant and beautiful, full of both fear and wonder. There is an overwhelming sense of the inevitable as we read, that all three of our protagonists will find their new beginning, whatever that may be. This book really is something special and I know I have made a complete mess of explaining why it is such a stunning read’ Jen Meds Book Reviews

.

Attend is quite complex, when you take a step back and look at the themes that Camel is portraying. English A-Level teachers would be going mad over sentences in this book, asking you to analyse every word (seriously, I was doing this big time). But as you are trying to uncover the story and where it will lead, you are thrown into depths with all the detail and modern edge … Attend is an absolute treat from start to finish, and I’ll be revisiting this next year’ Bookmark That

.

‘The threads of the story twist and weave expertly in West’s capable hands as he takes readers on a poignant and thought provoking journey.  As you may guess, characterisation was a key aspect of this book for me, I felt that I was connected, invested and genuinely cared about these characters … I think it’s fair to say that West Camel has really crafted a very special story, he has managed to combine a very human tale with touches of magic, adventure, history and charm. The writing is spellbinding and leave readers hungry for more’ The Quiet Knitter

 

‘Amidst this macho culture West Camel has created a delicate love story of strength and survival that shows us a different way. His precise,measured and evocative prose contrasts beautifully with cruel and shameful behaviour. Camel has an uncanny ability to show the beauty amidst the ugliness of poverty, drugs and violence.West Camel skilfully weaves a tapestry of multi-layered threads and like Theseus finding his the way to the Minotaur, it is that trail of thread that will ultimately allow Sam and Annie to come back home through the Labyrinth, enriched and at peace’ Live and Deadly

.

‘It was astounding to me how seamlessly the scenes switched from violent thuggery, to tender friendship, with not a hint of effort from West. One minute Anne had a man’s hands around her throat and the next she was sharing a moment of innocent closeness with Sam, with no ulterior motive whatsoever … In a world where plot-twists and shockers reign supreme, Attend represents a return to masterful, artistic storytelling – in complete harmony with its own themes, it is a gentle thread running through a dark tapestry’ Nic Perrins

.

Attend is a novel of threads – gritty and dark, tender and light, mysterious and magical – just like the three threads featured on its cover. It’s a book of past and present, grief and tragedy, forgiveness and redemption, and hopes and dreams. It’s about the uncertainty of life and the unpredictability of the future … Just as the story features an intricate sampler, Attend IS an intricate piece of work, showing off author West Camel’s skill in weaving words and phrases together to create a great debut novel’ Off-the-Shelf Books

.

‘I’m writing this minutes after finishing the book, so all my feelings about it are raw and full of swirling emotions, like the tides of the river that features so heavily in this novel. Reading this book is like wrapping yourself up in a robe that protects you from the cares of the world, as the writing embraces you in it’s soft embrace.  Nothing really matters but the story being told and characters that you never want to be parted from, because to leave them behind is like losing a part of yourself, so interwoven had Sam, Deborah, Derek and Anne had become with me as I read … If this book doesn’t end up a classic of modern writing, it will be a grave injustice. I for one will be singing its praises to all who will listen’ Books are my Cwtches

.

‘Between realism and fiction, Attend is not a simple story, is a mixing of human and dark situations with some fantasy and hope that everyone needs in their life, ready for this masterpiece? … The two main characters will seem that they don’t have any connection, but their connection is Deborah, a mysterious character that will delight us with her stories… How she will make change our main characters, story by story, thread by thread, they create an amazing tapestry full of human stories that will delight any reader!’ Varietats

.

‘There was something almost ethereal about this novel, almost as though it was a ghostly fairytale. At times I felt as though I was standing over a miniature stage watching the actors play out the story in front of my eyes. This was very different from my usual crime fiction read. It was dark yet enchanting at the same time. I felt as though the narrative had cast a magical spell upon me drawing me deeper into the pages and into the lives of all three characters …  Attend is an intense, dark, beautiful mesmerizing and almost haunting read, perfect to lose yourself in over the winter months’ Chapter in my Life

 .

West writes a guest post about remarkable women. Bookanista

 .

‘With its blend of dark, gritty themes and gorgeous imagery, this is a book to make you believe there’s still magic in the world’ Andrea Martin, Heat Magazine 

.

‘This is an exquisitely written debut novel which has stayed long with me after I turned that very last page. When I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it which is always, for me the sign of a great read. The story centres around 3 main characters – Deborah, a seamstress who seems to have lived forever and has many stories to tell, recovering ex-drug addict, Anne and Sam, a young gay man. Their stories are interwoven if not only by circumstance, by those they know … A brilliant novel displaying the rich tapestry of life. Would highly recommend it’ Beauty Balm Book Blog

.

Attend is a unique, magical read, however, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you must read it and give it a go you never know  it may surprise you. Attend is an addictive read and just a compelling read. I simply could not put this book down and it left me breathless and blew my mind. When you break the story down, it is a simplistic story but West has put an overlay of complexity with some of the characters and the issues it covers. This book just simply ticks all of the boxes and a book I would highly recommend’

 The Secret World of a Book Blogger

.

Attend was a real surprise for me, I honestly didn’t expect to feel so emotionally involved in the story. Going by the description I think I was sort of expecting something a bit harsher, yes there are drugs and violence involved but that is just a tiny bit of the story and what I felt was cosy reading it. It was like when you’re cold and you wrap your favourite blanket round you and you feel warm and snug, that’s how I felt each time I picked up Attend … It’s written beautifully and i would never have believed this was a debut. The characters come alive and when i wasn’t reading i was thinking about them. Attend is a mesmorising, special story that really draws the reader in and it’s a story that will stay with me for a long, long time. Absolutely fantastic’ It’s All About the Books Blog 

.

‘West Camel has a poetic writing style. His storytelling unbeknownst to me slowly brought me into the centre of Deptford and the middle of the lives of these three interesting characters. The seemingly unrelated threads of this story slowly plaited themselves together to tie my attention up to the end. The cover to Attend is so simple and yet fits this complex story impeccably. Three individual threads brought together’ A Knights Read

.

‘A thoroughly unique tale that is very difficult to pinpoint a genre for.  It’s a little bit of everything! And it works! You get totally caught up in the lives of these characters – especially Anne and Sam – that makes you think of them long after you’ve finished reading and it takes a special way of writing to achieve that …  It deals with many issues that are rife nowadays – complicated families, drug issues, relationship problems and dealing with those demons that can take over your head and approaches all these subjects with such clarity and sensitivity. It’s a book that evokes many emotions from anger to sadness as you read, but definitely a story and characters that you won’t forget’ Books and Me

.

‘A multi layered, beautifully haunting and simply WONDERFUL debut here from my Orenda colleague West Camel. From the moment I started reading it I knew I was going to love it and at the time I had no clue as to the author, which made it extra special later.  Attend has an emotive, gorgeous sense to the prose and the characters we meet – Annie, Sam, Deborah (especially Deborah) are all so authentic and engaging. The story flows gently and absorbs you into the history, the relationships and is hugely insightful about the sometimes hidden ties we have to each other and the world around us. Deptford comes alive, a fascinating setting, I won’t tell you much about the story you just need to sink into it, this is a novel I will certainly return to again and again. Highly Recommended’ Liz Loves Books

.

‘West Camel has given us a gorgeous, multi-faceted novel, a book to curl up with and lose yourself in. One of those where you don’t know what to expect, but know that you don’t want to end. Hugely recommended’ Espresso Coco

.

‘This is a brilliantly written and impressive debut from West. Words at times can be crass and harsh, making me wince and at other times beautiful and lyrical, perfectly capturing all at once the heartbreak and the brutality, as well as the beauty and wonder of the lives we are visiting.  There is a magical mystery that is held beneath the streets of Deptford, in tunnels where secrets lie still within the dank darkness … Attend is a wonderful, rich atmospheric novel and I thoroughly recommend it’

Tales Before Bedtime

.

‘As this novel fits into may genres, for example, crime, drama etc, it also fits into the world of magic realism. I really enjoy that genre style, but Camel seems to bring a further contemporary feel to his book. Contemporary fiction is a popular notion thrown around nowadays, yet this book hits the nail on the head- emotions aren’t forced, relationships aren’t cheesy, and characters seem to effortlessly fit into the story. This unique novel is beautifully written with an enigmatic stance that is truly one of a kind. The magnificent language of this novel is guaranteed to draw you in’ Books Beyond the Story

.

‘This book is so hard to classify for me past literary fiction. There are elements of magical realism mixed with historical fiction mixed with contemporary fiction. At the end of the day ATTEND is a book that can connect readers across the genres and is a book I would recommend every reader add to their list!’ What Jess Reads

.

‘This is an impressive novel, confidently written with an eye to the visual as well as the emotional experience of the characters. A strongly written book, with powerful events and challenging conflicts, this is memorable and compelling reading. The confusing details of a mysterious life are put up against the reality of everyday life with the small touches of clothes, daily routine, as even the inaccessibility of Deborah’s home becomes familiar. This is a book which poses many questions, but is also a compelling narrative. An impressive and challenging debut, Camel’s characterisation is well developed and mature throughout this memorable book’ Northern Reader

.

‘How to review a book like Attend by West Camel?? On first thoughts it seems pretty impossible and I have spent a long time after finishing it wondering about the words I could use that would do this extraordinary piece of writing the justice it deserves. Attend is like nothing I have read before and it is difficult to pin a genre on … A truly magical read that will weave its way into your heart and soul!’ Bibliophile Book Club

.

Attend is teasing magical realism where I was never quite sure of the truth and yet this little old woman’s mysterious charm meant that I trusted her … The themes in Attend meander and combine to produce what is quite simply a masterclass in storytelling. The superlative characterisation and engaging plot are complemented throughout by the authentic descriptions of both past and present Deptford which leap from the page – there were times where I could almost smell the damp and musty air. I loved every word of this gently subversive, wise and perceptive novel and it will be one that stays with me for the longest time. I can’t wait to find out what further delights West Camel has up his sleeve following this absolute treat of a debut!’ Hair Past a Freckle

.

‘This book is absolutely fantastic. I have fallen in love with it and didnt want to put down my copy. Im not even sure if i could pick out a favorite scene from the book. There were so many that i could relate too or even loved. Much like other books i will have to pick this one up again and again. There was just no putting this book down’ Slytherin Book Lady

.

West talks about his Secret Library choices as part of the blog tour. Café Thinking

‘This is a gorgeous book, full of secrets, full of unexpected glimpses of the world … I just loved this book, I wanted it never to end, I still want to know what happens next – and what happened before – and what happened in the gaps between the parts of Deborah’s story we’re shown. Camel’s writing is immediate, compelling and vivid, creating almost a sense of the Gothic in a modern London suburb (which is perhaps as close as I’ll get to answering that “genre” question”). Strongly recommended’ Blue Book Balloon 

.

‘This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel!! I thought the concept behind the book was excellent, it was well written, the flow of the story was spot on and it had some fantastic characters.  It was a completely addictive read for me. I finished the book the same day I started it and it was a genuine page turner, I will be honest as I wasn’t sure what it would be like from the blurb as it seemed to cross a few genres that I wouldn’t necessarily mix but honestly I needn’t have had any worries at all – it all works and the whole thing was executed so, so well, it has gone right up there with my top reads of 2018 and I can’t wait to see what the author releases next!! The plot was superb – 5 stars from me, very highly recommended’ Donnas Book Blog 

.

‘A debut novel that had some flare. I found that the story was very strong with so much to offer the readers imagination. This book had a little bit of everything I could hope for … The writing style was smooth and flowing which I appreciate as it makes for a much more entertaining read. I dknt know what’s next for this author but he has a long career in front of him and can’t wait to see his next work of art’ Seans Book Reviews

.

Attend is a truly magical book that I know I won’t forget for a while! I don’t think I must have read the blurb properly as I thought it was a crime novel, but it’s in fact much more than that … I lost many hours reading this book as I was so absorbed by the story … This is, unbelievably, the author’s debut novel and I’m very excited to read more from this talented author’

 Over the Rainbow Book Blog

.

‘“Attend” isn’t really all that complex in its plot, but when you step back and think about the themes it covers, you realise that it’s a lot deeper than it first seems. Filled with magical realism that makes you question what you believe, the story kept me on edge while I tried to act as a detective, pulling the pieces of the story together … I enjoyed this magically story and I enjoyed questioning what was really going on. “Attend” is imaginative and well written which makes it a good read in my books! Let’s see what author West Camel comes up with next!’ What Rebeccas Read

Reviews