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Tiptoe by Kit O'Conor


by Kit O'Conor

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Tiptoe – vacuous and pretentious, but the writing’s good

I’d like to thank Kit O’Conor for his hard work and commitment to this worthwhile endeavor.

I’m a traditionalist.
When I write, when I facilitate writing workshops, and when I critique I’m looking for the basics - goal, motivation and conflict to establish the story. I like it right near the beginning and associated with a strong, sympathetic protagonist. That let’s me know what the story is about - what the protagonist wants, why they want it, and what’s preventing them from getting it.

I can then decide if the work is worth my time.

I just finished Tiptoe by Kit O’Conor and I have no idea what was going on.

The author’s job is primarily to entertain, secondarily to enlighten – it’s never to frustrate the reader or try to illustrate how clever they are by being purposely vague. Reading a novel is not a test or a quiz show.

Tiptoe has no protagonist so there can be no goal, motivation or conflict. It has no cohesive plot. It does have well defined characters but not one is likable – nobody this reader could care about or get behind.

There’s Roan, a street performer who’s gone crazy because his wife left him (or died or he killed her, I never could figure out which) and now performs as a statue of a knight in full armour in public places. He does other weird stuff as well.

Pepper is a street magician who is Roan’s friend and mentor though what he mentor’s Roan in is never really explained nor is the basis of their friendship.

There’s Milo, a conflicted young man who drinks, takes “Tiptoe” which is some sort of mood altering drug along the lines of Ecstasy, goes to raves and seems dissatisfied with everything including his job at a call centre and his school teacher wife, Ivey.

There’s Ivey, Milo’s wife, an elementary school teacher who’s a victim of every relationship she’s been in including her marriage and now with one of her grade school students.

Carne’s her student, who’s really not a little boy but a grown man in a little boy’s body.

All these characters indulge in random reflections and ridiculous actions that lack relevance and motivation.

Because the transitions between chapters are non-existent in Tiptoe I continually kept scrolling back thinking I maybe missed a couple of pages. Then I thought perhaps O’Conor was writing one of those trendy novels with disparate story lines that finally cleverly converge.

This never happens in Tiptoe. Nothing converges, nothing relates, nothing makes sense.

Writing never trumps story and the foundation of every story are the basics.

If you’re a novelist, especially if you’re a new novelist, present your GMC early and make it intense. You’ll also want to introduce your main character at the same time. If you mess with this formula you’re either a literary genius or you think you’re one.

I received this book free from StoryCartel in exchange for an honest review and as part of my ongoing commitment to review the work of new, self-published authors. ( )
  RodRaglin | Nov 11, 2015 |
This really surprised me. Follows a series of characters that we are uncertain from the set-up the level of interconnectivity between. Each moves through their own seemingly self-contained vignette until some themes overlap and a nice shifting in perspective occurs.

There is a little bit of quirk and this is incorporated effectively. Included are some nicely poetic asides that are genuinely funny and absurd. The settings meet up with the contemporary urban feeling, from barren waste ground to run down flats. The characters reflect the restlessness and longing laid bare by a fractured society, turning sometimes to the drug of choice known as "tiptoe".

The characters grapple with disillusionment and harshness, the frustrations that arise as a result depicted with a heady awareness.

Structurally this mostly worked, especially as this is a relatively short piece. A feeling akin to being dropped into a party where all attending are in full conversational flow but by the end it all makes some weird psychological sense even if you still don't have a clue what is going on.

This is an intriguing read. Some nice dreamlike sequences that play out in a playfully uncanny fashion. Enjoyed and left me wanting more. ( )
  RebeccaGransden | Jul 7, 2015 |
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