Unexpected turns of phrase in Megan Hunter’s new novel provide the spark for a fiery tale of infidelity: The Scotsman reviews The Harpy

What’s the point of writing an unoriginal sentence? A predictable sentence? A sequence of words that has been committed to paper hundreds, perhaps thousands of times before? This seems to be Megan Hunter’s starting point whenever she sets out to write a novel. Her 2017 debut, The End We Start From, was a glittering compendium of unexpected turns of phrase that was nominated for multiple awards, translated into eight languages and is to be made into a film by Benedict Cumberbatch’s production company. In that dystopian tale, however, there were times when all the linguistic fireworks could start to feel a little overpowering; in The Harpy, by contrast, these flashes of inspiration are spread more sparingly through the text, and if anything this gives them even greater impact. Rather than trying to land a haymaker with every punch, it’s as if Hunter is learning how to box clever, adding more variety to her repertoire, ducking and weaving before landing a decisive blow.

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