This week on My Screaming Twenties celebrates the recent release of Kindra M. Austin’s newest novel, The Black Naught.
The Black Naught by Kindra M. Austin is a marriage of Austin’s strongest skill sets. Her storytelling is as poetic as it is sinister. Her pace is flawless. Her desire to explore human nature and all its complexities, clear to see. The Black Naught is a triumph to be enjoyed by long time fans of Austin and new readers of her work.
As someone lucky enough to have read Magpie in August, I was thrilled to learn The Black Naught is a reimagining of this tale of grief and loss. Upon reading the book, I was even more thrilled to realise Magpie in August exists within this book in its entirety. Magpie’s story breaks my heart time and time again; it was a joy to revisit Austin’s raw and honest depiction of loss and the catalytic nature of grief. Austin writes beautifully about Magpie’s relationship with her mother and her younger sister. Familial relationships can often be subjected to clichés and tropes but Austin’s storytelling is relevant and realistic, I saw parts of myself in Magpie, Wren and even her mother. I could plot my own familial relationships against those Austin so superbly portrays.
The love and loss were always palpable in Magpie in August but in The Black Naught, Austin harnesses once again the macabre and sinister; qualities I adored in her novella For You, Rowena and her most recent poetry release, Heavy Mental. Austin is a queen of crossing genres but in a way which never requires the reader to suspend too much belief. The Black Naught remains grounded in reality despite the heady twists and turns which leave any reader salivating for more. In all honesty, I wish for a sequel to The Black Naught as the final moments left me hungry.
This is not to say Austin’s writing does not satisfy. I love the idea that there is perhaps more and I appreciate Magpie’s story feeling unfinished because it is this which reminds us of Magpie’s humanity; of our humanity and mortality. There is a darkness present in The Black Naught which I think too many of us deny exists in our lives. Austin plays with this – tries to become its master – and opens our eyes further to look beyond just human nature into faith, the universe and whether we believe in something higher, something other or unearthly.
Austin does what every author of timeless literature has ever done, she forces you to question what you know, and she does it sublimely.
The Black Naught by Kindra M. Austin is available to purchase below:
(Available internationally too)
To follow Kindra M. Austin and her work: