Cover Image: Hourglass


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Member Reviews

Loved this book, read it in one sitting.  Quirky story about love and loss, recovering from a break up with great characters.  I know that if it is published by Europa it is going to be great.
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Feeling directionless after being with women with unusual tastes and existing on bran flakes and apples, he meets a woman who writes just like him. He chronicles their relationship, the highs, and lows, as well as the eventual breakup. Told in heartbreaking prose and poetry, we follow the rise and fall of their relationship and how he slowly puts himself back together in the aftermath. 

I enjoyed the book; he captures what it feels like at the high of a relationship and the low of a breakup. Very sad at times, though.
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Hourglass explores the passage of time. How it is mainly composed of our idiosyncrasies, ruminations over our inadequacies, fear, and also love. Love of course, slips away as well with all the rest of it, which you will recognize and sympathize with in this sparely told novel.
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๐‘ซ๐’ ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’Œ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’“๐’‚๐’Š๐’ ๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’๐’๐’š ๐’•๐’†๐’๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’…๐’Š๐’‡๐’‡๐’†๐’“๐’†๐’๐’„๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’•๐’˜๐’†๐’†๐’ ๐’๐’๐’”๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’Š๐’• ๐’‰๐’‚๐’” ๐’‰๐’‚๐’… ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’๐’๐’”๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’Š๐’• ๐’˜๐’‚๐’๐’•๐’†๐’…?

This is about love, falling into, losing it, and making oneโ€™s way through the ruins. Many of us can relate to the journey, when you first meet your beloved itโ€™s like the sun is bursting in your heart and when they decide you are no longer enough for them, itโ€™s winter of the soul. His reflections of the relationship from its beginning to its very end are a slow bleed. He loves his woman so much he says her name like a rosary, but even prayer doesnโ€™t keep them together. There is an immediate intimacy between the reader and author, the pain comes in waves. I havenโ€™t read many books where a male character is this open, just letting his weakness, fears, sorrows, and hopes gush. My reaction was empathy, so many of us have felt the glory of love and the hollowing out of being left behind. We love until weโ€™re stupid, and new in love, we try so hard to fit each other, to figure out how to be the person our partner needs. We grow in love, consider things we never would have before another is in our lives, we try on different parts of ourselves and one another, and wonder how we went through life without each other. Admittedly, sometimes we shrink in unhealthy love too. His weepy little soul is funny at times, this novel is not without humor. Despite being a short novel, the sentences are full of beauty and hit you hard. โ€œThe first time I take you to meet my mom I am scared you will see something in her that will make you hate me.โ€ That is a fragile revelation, one that reflects on how we are weighed and measured by those in our lives, especially our family, that the choice of love encompasses more than just our lonely little selves. Before you get the wrong idea, he loves his mother, itโ€™s a moving part of the story. We love and yet feel embarrassed by the odd behaviors of our parents at times. We are often protective of them, despite the guilt we feel for being ashamed someone wonโ€™t accept them, will see a reflection of ourselves through them. That is the nature of family.

I am a sucker for stories that feel like communion between reader and writer. Getting inside someoneโ€™s head, where itโ€™s not about who we present ourselves to be but who we really are inside, makes for solid reading.In love he goes through penance, euphoria, silence, panic, desire, passion, loss, fear, hopeโ€ฆ I could go on. We love differently, of course we do, but the emotions filter through us in similar fashion and that is why the birth and death of a love story is easy to relate to. I often felt the sting of it all, the bite of love. Time passes, he has no choice but to try to recover from losing his beloved and the last paragraph is beautiful. I think itโ€™s a lovely read, Europa Editions always publishes unique books, stories I find myself reflecting upon after Iโ€™ve put them on a shelf. Yes, perfect for Valentineโ€™s Day.

Publication Date: February 14, 2023

Europa Editions
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Hourglass is an intimate portrayal of one man's romantic relationship from first meeting to the grief of its loss. I found Goddard's sparse but descriptive prose incisive and thoughtful; the narrator's struggles with his own psyche, emotions, lack of fulfillment in work, and familial and romantic connections were fitting (sometimes overly so) for a world in recovery from COVID.

Overall, this book was not for the faint of heart, but it is full of heart, and it is worth pursuing for all who are looking for a story that grapples with the ache of what could have been.
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A quick read about love found and then love lost but also about work, art, family, and mental health. The power is in the telling. Our quirky unnamed narrator shares his raw impressions and obsessions, revealing the beautiful, the painful, and the absurd. I was a bit skeptical at first, thinking it might be pretentious, but eventually the narrator won me over. Ultimately a slim novel that asks big questions: how do we live a life? How do we find or make meaning? Questions I am here for. And the comparisons to Jenny Offill stand up. Thanks to Netgalley and Europa for the ARC.
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Lyrically written an extended prose poem.Entertaining unique read it in one sitting an author with a special voice that was very entertaining,#netgalley#europabooks
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Hourglass is a lightning bolt of romantic prose in a storm of romance fiction. Written by a poet, the narrative feels honest and simple, but not stream-of-consciousness. The brevity of the text shows how much care was taken into deciding what moments and reflections are worth sharing, despite the array of wit, silliness, and swoon. It seems appropriate that most of the book is NOT about falling in love and a happy ending, but what really transpires, however slowly it all falls apart or pieces back together. In Hourglass, itโ€™s not so much about how love happens as what an impact it has on oneโ€™s understanding of self and how we go about viewing the world and ourselves in it. In such a way, Goddard's writing reminds me a bit of Annie Dillard--searching for natural meaning in our movements through time and among our closest relations. The parts that arenโ€™t about love and loss were particularly funny, and echo the very real sentiment against dead-end jobs that can make us perpetually weep from day to day. Some of the more tragic and ridiculous parts are the most laughable in the end, and I find myself thinking theyโ€™re probably the most relatable tooโ€”for example, the mother. I love how human this book ends, with ridiculous sentiment and personal flaws and worries, and in contrast, how it jumps off wildly into love in the beginning in the most superhuman way. It was such a joy to read, and brief enough that the escape felt really manageable. I canโ€™t wait to share it with everyone I know.
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Goddard's debut is a fast read: a Heartbreak Novel in the style of a prose poem. Despite the book's brevity, I quickly lost patience with the narrator. While humorous, his perspective was difficult to fully inhabit. A different reader may find they connect with 'Hourglass.'
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This short poetry book/novella should be seed more as an art piece than anything. Love, desire, and hope for connection in a modern world bleed throughout the pages. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this lovely book.
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Consumed this book over the course of the day. Easy to read, the prose flows deftly through time as Goddard examines the beginning, middle, and end of a love story. I really enjoyed this piece-- reminded me a bit of an Irish Scott Mclanahan, in its melancholy masculinity and examination of the ways we are complicit in the destruction of our most important relationships. 

While I enjoyed the prose, and the humor, I didn't fully grasp the ways in which the author was attempting to reconstruct the idea of time passing in a novel. This could largely be due to the fact that I read this book on a Kindle, so the segments weren't as obvious to me. This book may be better enjoyed as a physical piece of literature. Overall, I was moved, and would recommend.
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Hourglass, by Keiran Goddard, will, even more than most books, be very hit or miss with readers. The many things that might appeal to some readers are the very things other readers won't connect with. I think these are mostly stylistic issues, even when phrased as one of not relating to the narrator.

I start with that comment because I want to get readers who think that one's age won't allow them to relate, or gender, or whatever. If you aren't turned off by the style, and there is a lot to throw off the reader, I would suggest looking through whatever differences you are seeing between yourself and the character and concentrate on the aspects that are common to all people. You may find more here to appreciate than you think.

The narrator is not what is considered a "normal" (for whatever that means) person, a bit unusual in how he views, quite literally, the world as well as how he relates (or doesn't) to it. While most of us may not use his mechanisms to cope with the world around us, we do, whether we admit it or not, have plenty of quirks of our own. But falling in love, being in love, and losing that love are all things most of us can relate to. So try to relate to what he is experiencing and less about whether he is younger than you, or a male, or whatever. If you can't relate to the human being in him, well, then I guess you won't like the book and only want books about people just like you. What a narrow band of people to choose to relate to, in fiction or in life.

I found many of his aphoristic comments, not quite true aphorisms for the most part but in that vein, to be both off-putting (by design I think) and yet, once I moved beyond that, relatable. Not the way he commented on something but in what I took to be his feelings in making that comment. Those same feelings in me would not have elicited the same response, but it is refreshing to look into a mind going through common events but from a very distinctive perspective.

This is told looking back on it all and as a monologue (similar to true stream of consciousness) to the woman he loves. This definitely expands the present, since we are in the past quite vividly while having the present realization that things didn't work out. That isn't a spoiler, he is speaking that truth as much as he is speaking the truth of the past's present.

I would recommend this to those who either enjoy writing that is poetic and out of the ordinary, as well as those who look deeper no matter the writing style. For those who really just prefer a "this then that" story told in plain prose, this may irritate you more than please you.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Gorgeous. and lyrical writing--this book reads like an extended prose poem in all the best ways.  Marvelously inventive and innovative in style and form and voice.
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Hourglass is a collection of short diary entries disguised as a lyrical poem disguised as a novella. The book is written in short pragraphs (usually less than 3 sentences, if that) arranged in very short chapters that tell stories of modern love and loss, Characters remain sparsely described and largely unnamed (or the names don't matter) which leads to this being more of an impressionistic art piece rather than a book. 

I really wanted to like Hourglass but I don't think I was the correct audience for it as experimental writing isn't quite for me. That said, I found it engaging and refreshing in its brevity. Reading this book felt like going to a slam poetry night where I didn't have much in common with the speaker but could see how the material could be emotionally poignant for other people. This was similar to the experience I had reading Ocean Vuong's on Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous, where some portions felt both over and underwritten in a way that didn't land with me but that I've seen other people enjoy. 

Recommended if you are interested in millennial love and heartbreak, enjoy lyrical styles akin to Ocean Vuong, and are ok with "no plot just vibes" when it comes to your novellas. 

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!
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This is sad, and light on plot. This should click with a niche audience. Certainly good writing here.

I really appreciate the free ARC for review!!
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This brief fiction was too spare for me. It's not a flaw in the book--it's a deliberate choice the author makes so I can't fault him for it--but personally it left me feeling unprepared and baffled about what I was reading, for longer than I wanted to be. It was like finding myself on a sports team and already out on the field and not knowing the rules. In the beginning, until I came to the phrase "she liked to f* me with a candle", I thought I was reading a novel narrated by a child because the diction was simple enough to lead me in that direction. 

It's like a lattice of a story. Other readers will be able to make the correct intuitive leaps across the empty spaces and derive more full meanings and see the patterns, more than I was able to.
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โœจBook Reviewโœจ
Hourglass by Kieran Goddard
2.5-3/5 โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ

Iโ€™m not really sure how to rate this one. Iโ€™m just left confused. 

But first thanks to @netgalley for my copy of this ARC for an honest review..

Itโ€™s definitely different than anything I have ever read. Itโ€™s a very interesting piece as far as the writing goes. Not really much of a story with a plot so to speak. It just felt a bit all over the place honestly. . 

At times I was lost in what I was actually reading. And I donโ€™t mean this to be any way disrespectful. I just feel like I was reading bits and pieces of someoneโ€™s journal/diary with no real structure. 

I wanted to like it. But I donโ€™t think this is one for me. I donโ€™t want to say I wouldnโ€™t recommend this to others- because weโ€™re all different in what we read. So someone else may resonate with it. Itโ€™s just this particular read didnโ€™t rank high for me.
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'Hourglass' marries poetryโ€™s force with fictionโ€™s straightforward gait, producing the most recognizable, quietly heartbreaking love story ever known. Made up of three distinct partsโ€Šโ€”โ€Šthe before, the during, and the afterโ€Šโ€”โ€Šthe story dips in and out of time, illustrating the unnamed narratorโ€™s entanglement with โ€œthe most beautiful thingโ€ heโ€™s ever laid eyes on. Not person, but thing, โ€œwhich is a much bigger category.โ€

As a work marked by underplayed language and throat-punching imagery, 'Hourglass' focuses on its symbiosis with the world of senses. As a result, weโ€™re treated to prickly morsels of balled-up hair, the stifling odor of wet cardboard, shades of salt and vinegar on anotherโ€™s tongue, and eye-tickling humidity, to name a few. 

Part of the reason for this acute physicality of being may be the narratorโ€™s social awkwardness, which leaves him deciphering his emotions in ways others find repellent. His alienation breeds both anguish and a despairing sort of eroticism; and it seems most potent when pulled from the corners of his roving senses, โ€œI ate one of the hair balls once. Just a small one. It tasted like you. Like the sheer fucking stun of you.โ€ 

Thereโ€™s an airless shroud of sorrow pulled over the text; one that tightens more in response to our watchfulness than the narratorโ€™s withdrawn endurance. As he shrinks himself and spends โ€œan entire day drawing a picture of [his] kettle,โ€ we, too, begin to alienate ourselves from the rigid vernacular of wellbeing. Not only does it brutalize the individual, but proves impractical in the realm of concrete torment.  And so, his experience of himself is allowed to branch out from the expected and the banal. His motherโ€™s depression is, likewise, spared a succinct summary, both in her sonโ€™s memory and within the spaces of their fragile reality.

There is no judgment on the page, and none extends beyond its reach. This doesnโ€™t apply to the clashes between lovers, however; the mind and its manifestation, the body and its mirrored potency. What we glean from this is a fascinating simplicity of both expression and feeling, โ€œThe first time I ever saw you, you were bending down and picking up sunglasses. You picked up your sunglasses and I was in pieces.โ€

What brings it more prominently to the fore is the narratorโ€™s uniquely childlike voice. It carries him to some obscure places, letting him vent the unthinkable. And so, what makes him stand out is the kind of sincere reasoning that rivals any adultโ€™s skepticism. This earnestness, particularly in relation to the joint aspects of the human experience, is so disarming that it brings to mind Daniel Keyesโ€™ 'Flowers for Algernon'. Here, too, the narratorโ€™s labors transform into a meditation on the incoherence of the mundane; a hazy, heady whirlpool of impulse and repetition. 

The textโ€™s verbal replay signals a hiccup in emotion, ambient and unsettling. Dogged self-consciousness and dread further torch the coals of somberness in 'Hourglass', releasing the narratorโ€™s panic over accidentally dismantling the fragile cosmos of his adoration. But thereโ€™s also undeniable humor mixed in with this discovery of his limitlessness. Itโ€™s as startling as a sharp intake of air, or a kick to the shin that misses all the nerves.

Itโ€™s no surprise, then, that we invest more and more of ourselves into his form as his breakdown intensifies. And so, alleviated by its poetic resonance, the echo of feeling finds its escape, โ€œI remember that your skin was tight over your muscles. As if your skin was worried that your muscles were going to leave.โ€

Goddardโ€™s work is so zany that it proves stimulating, so fresh that you walk away with a newfound thirst. While the characters and the trails they leave along each otherโ€™s senses seem too archetypal to feel grounded, this elusiveness might be the very sacrifice needed to unshackle 'Hourglass'โ€™ universal appeal.
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