Cows by Matthew Stokoe

Much has been written about Cows by Matthew Stokoe. Some find it a novel designed to do little but shock, an empty tale filled with vile images and a nonsensical storyline which only serves the purpose of threading ever more nastiness into a thin and hollow plot. Others see through the bleakness and find some kind of joy, albeit twisted and uncomfortable, in the tale. I will admit to being in the latter group.

Cows has a mood about it which I found gripping and uplifting, despite its overall gloominess. It’s a full-on journey of craziness and probably not one for the feint-hearted, but it dragged me along at a hell of a pace.

The language is, at times, utilitarian, but that fits very much with the overall feel, and despite its sometimes over-the-top story-line, it retains a smear of humanity that engages the reader.

The only quibble I had was the Kindle version file size makes you think you’re getting a full novel, but around half the file is a chunk of another book (High Life, which isn’t as good in my opinion). As a result, I ran out of Cow action sooner than I wanted to.

Cows will always split the crowd, but I would recommend it because those who find the slightly shit-smeared joy in there will appreciate it all the more for the journey.

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