Reviews > Published on August 29th, 2014

Bookshots: 'Metamorphosis' by Nicholas Mosley

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review



Who wrote it?

Mosley’s narrative wanders between the past and present, but I rarely got a sense of purpose or that I was being led to a particular place.

Perhaps best known for his Whitbread award-winning novel Hopeful Monsters, which dealt with the question of using science to manipulate human nature to effect change, Nicholas Mosley’s new novella explores similar subjects.

Plot in a Box:

A journalist living in Ireland with his family relives a chance encounter with an aid worker in an African refugee camp that changed his life — and may continue to do so.

Invent a new title for this book:

I would call it: Evolution: Not Just a Theory.

Read this if you liked:

David Mitchell’s divisive novel Cloud Atlas.

Meet the book’s lead:

A late thirty-something journalist and writer who’s spent time in Africa and Gaza covering conflict and tragedy — and who’s never named.

Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:

A not-so-handsome Hugh Grant with a hint of Christopher Eccleston about him.

Setting: would you want to live there?

Set in Ireland at an unspecified time, the conflict between Loyalists and Republicans—or the “Troubles”— seem to have a peripheral effect on the story; it’s hard to pin down, but there is a sense of the unsettled about the place. Not appealing

What was your favorite sentence?

I was wondering — Could one smuggle explosives in the belly of a whale?

The Verdict:

I didn’t enjoy this. Mosley’s narrative wanders between the past and present, but I rarely got a sense of purpose or that I was being led to a particular place. The narrative is full of sometimes nonsensical thoughts in the main character’s head which don’t shed any light on the subject.

There is a lot of speculation about the potential of the human mind/body/spirit and what might happen if we were to fulfill that potential — that’s probably the only thing that foreshadows the appearance of a god-child in a refugee camp that is “special”. Annoyingly, we only get small glimpses of what that specialness entails or her abilities, and the story ends before anything really happens.

I got very frustrated reading this, as it felt like part of something larger, and left me feeling that Mosley didn’t know how to finish a longer work. Not one I can recommend.

About the author

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for 21 years now. On reaching London, he worked as a graphic designer and web consultant before starting a pub review website in the late 90’s.

His current book series, The Jaared Sen Quartet is set in near-future London, but also encompasses historical elements, reflecting his fascination with missing artifacts and conspiracy theories.

Dean left pub reviews behind in 2011 to concentrate on his writing and to set up a new company offering publishing services to authors, poets and artists as well as blogging and writing book reviews on his website at He lives in east London with his wife and two cats and dreams (often) of a house in France.

Reedsy Marketplace UI

1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy. Come meet them.

Enter your email or get started with a social account: