I’m beginning this blog post with an apology to Miles Salter. Miles kindly sent me a copy of Fix in return for an honest review and has been waiting patiently for months and months for it to reach the top of my towering TBR. I’m delighted finally to share that review today.
I previously reviewed another of Miles’ books, the middle grade story Howl, here, although you’ll have to forgive the quality of my blog post – it was in the very early days of my blogging life!
Fix is available for purchase here.
Fix is quite a trip.
Seven years in the making, it covers air disasters, swamps, a woman who goes to bed with a dog, Jekyll and Hyde going for a curry, invitations to parties, amusing domestic disasters, a house with hidden rooms, and why there are so few good songs about cheese. The book’s primary theme is living in an imperfect world, from teaching your children how to forage to surviving a mid-life crisis. The poems on marital breakdown are moving and sad, but there’s plenty of surreal comedy here to keep the reader entertained.
Fix will stay with the reader long after they have read it.
My Review of Fix
If I’m honest, I had no idea what kind of anthology I would be reading when I picked up Fix. What I discovered was that Fix is a love song to who we are. To our past. To our loss and grief. It’s also an anthology of hope, of love and of humanity in many forms.
There are some startling images and moments in Fix so that when I thought I had the measure of what I was reading, I found myself brought up short by an expletive, a complete change of emotion, or a prosaic motif imbued with such depth of feeling I felt quite wrong footed.
I thoroughly enjoyed the social history references in Fix, especially those referring to music because they made me feel a part of Miles Salter’s writing, and, by extension, gave me a shared experience and understanding. Fix simultaneously has broad brush strokes and intimate moments so that it can be read on many levels, all of which are thought provoking and satisfying.
I have a feeling that many of the entries are autobiographical so that I felt I had come to know the author Miles Salter quite intimately. I found Said, in particular incredibly moving. The lines are simple with a repetition of ‘you’, ‘I’ and ‘said’ and yet the breakdown of an entire marriage is spread across the verse in sheer emotion.
One of the elements of Fix that I found the most compelling was that it gave me an insight into the male perspective. Miles Salter presented me with so many versions of masculinity, from the violent to the gambler, the warrior to the broken, the husband to the lunatic, making me feel I had had a glimpse into a world I don’t usually inhabit. Shed, for example, encapsulated the conflict between public persona and inner reality so brilliantly that its impact is to make me question what the men in my life are truly thinking and feeling. I loved the fact Miles Salter could make me think.
Fix is modern and fresh in approach and yet considers themes that are universal and traditional so that it has appeal to wide range of readers. Indeed, I think Fix would be a perfect collection for those who think they don’t like, or cannot understand, poetry because it is accessible and familiar. I also thought it was interesting, moving and hugely engaging. I really, really enjoyed it.
About Miles Salter
Away from poetry, Miles is the front man for the band Miles and The Chain Gang. The band have released a couple of videos in 2020, and are working towards making an album. ‘We’ve been going two years, and it’s been a slow burn. That’s partly because of Covid,’ says Miles. ‘The songs are really strong and the band are brilliant. I’m optimistic about what we can do in the future.’