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Hot Stew de Fiona Mozley
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Hot Stew (edició 2021)

de Fiona Mozley (Autor)

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873249,015 (3.8)2
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Now that I know that "stew" is old English slang for "brothel" the title makes a whole lot more sense..... Some of the characters are confusing or not even needed.
Would have been a solid 3 stars, but as I have listened to the audiobook .... one HUGE bonus star for Nneka Okoye for the amazing voices! ( )
  yukon92 | Jul 1, 2021 |
I greatly enjoyed this tour of modern London. Wouldn't be surprised to see this on the BBC some day soon - a couple of 'scenes' in particular were simply spectacular. ( )
  alexrichman | May 9, 2021 |
Fiona Mozley’s debut novel Elmet surprisingly but deservedly made it to the longlist – and then to the shortlist – of the 2017 Booker Prize. Set in a rural area of Yorkshire, it told the story of a prize fighter living at the edge of legality, who ends up embroiled in a violent tussle (both figurative and literal) between landowners and exploited workers and tenants.

At the time of her Booker success, Mozley was already working on her second novel which, as she stated in an interview at the time, “contains similar themes to Elmet – property, ownership, gentrification. Indeed, one can note close similarities between the subjects of the two works. In Hot Stew, however, Mozley leaves the rural backdrop and moves to London, where a block which houses a long-established brothel is going to be demolished and redeveloped by its owner, Agatha, the millionaire heiress of a Soho “baron”. Sex workers Precious and Tabitha become unlikely champions for themselves and their fellow tenants in a class battle reminiscent of Elmet.

Despite the overlapping themes and the similarities in plot details between Mozley’s two novels, Hot Stew marks a stylistic departure for the author. Where Elmet was taut and punchy, Hot Stew is more expansive. It features a rich cast of characters whose stories, told in parallel segments from their different perspectives, are all ultimately intertwined and linked to the threatened Soho block. This “choral” approach reminded me somewhat of Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other. Mozley adopts a fairly simple, matter-of-fact, sometimes borderline-bland narration, but the novel is still gripping in the way the different storylines interlock like the pieces in a puzzle. Elmet had an almost fable-like feel to it, but in Hot Stew, Mozley largely eschews the mythical in favour of a recognizable urban reality. Not completely though… some passages of the novel delve deep into the earth and past of Soho, presenting a sort of “deep time” perspective alongside the contemporary challenges faced by her cast. There are also some surreal characters (such as the “Archbishop” who leads a group of down-and-outs) and passages which veer on magical realism and/or urban Gothic (such as Debbie McGee’s adventures in the bowels of London and the final apocalyptic denouement).

On a balance, I would say that Hot Stew is less distinctive than Elmet. However, it is undeniably the work of a skilled author and a socially-conscious novel which is also an enjoyable read. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
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