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Eccentric amateur photographer Mandy Valems dreams of life beyond her seemingly mundane Cape Breton town Still reeling from the death of her older brother in a peculiar car accident she spends all her time at the notorious Sydney Tar Ponds hazardous waste site Everything changes when Mandy meets Alecto A cynical depressed chain smoker with an affinity for super 8 filmmaking Alecto gives her the opportunity to rebel against everything holding her back but her new best friend has a dark past and an even darker future and she might be the only one who can help him The Smog City books tell an often harrowing tale but friendship prevails between two individuals trying to survive unimaginable grief nostalgia and loss

15 thoughts on “Smog City

  1. says:

    A once in a lifetime book by a once in a lifetime author Rebecca McNutt's collected stories of Mandy and Alecto and Cape Breton Nova Scotia conjure up tangible dreams of the near past in film and music and industrial landmarks just as much as they do a glowing tribute to true friendship and a cautionary tale against technological evolution and the sagacious words that those who do not observe history are destined to repeated it In many ways Rebecca's work is a national treasure of Canadian identity and history just as much as it is a personal evolution of sorts an urban fairytale a coming of age parable in a world ever changing and ever losing that which made it so special to begin with She sees and notices all the little details that make reading her works such an enriching experience like looking at a photograph one page at a time Capturing so much and making you feel it with every word One thing's for sure Rebecca McNutt is a very special author and I am so thankful she has shared her work with me over the years and continues to share it with the world

  2. says:

    In many ways fiction writing is often autobiographical Of course writers’ imagination is rooted deep into their inner being and their perceptions of the outer world are nothing else but mirror images of their internal experiences So no matter how much writers put into research of the subject their fiction work is about their own identity is frequently obvious in the characters they are writing about With some authors and books that is noticeable than with othersWhile reading the novel Mandy and Alecto by Rebecca McNutt one of the questions I was asking myself was – How much of Rebecca McNutt was in her novel’s main character Mandy? Mandy was so well developed as the main character almost to the point of the intimate knowledge That’s where my question is coming from Originally written as a series of four novels Smog City book 1 Super 8 book 2 Shadowed Skies book 3 and Shoot the Drag book 4 it reads well as one work although some people may be overwhelmed with 730 pages Nevertheless it was a real joy to read this fast paced and extraordinary work Some may try to categorize it by genre as thriller or fantasy but in my opinion it would be unjust to limit it within the boundaries of any popular genre In my mind it has all attributes of great literary fiction and with some minor polishing this novel could be a real early masterpiece by a young and very talented authorMandy and Alecto are not everyday ordinary people They are two loners anti social self exiled in their own world and in constant conflict with the reality around them Regardless of that we like them and unintentionally we get pulled into their lives and can’t stop reading just to find out what happened next As we keep reading slowly but surely we realize that there is a bit of Mandy and Alecto in each of us We start looking at things from their perspective This novel could be a great base for a movie or even mini series It is my pleasure to recommend it

  3. says:

    Oh boy do I have a lot to sayI originally read this series before it became a book with all of them in it The first book in the series Smog City had me absolutely hooked from the beginning I love the characters and I see how they became so sentient to Rebecca as they became sentient to the audience as well This anthology had me laughing crying and every emotion you can possibly think of In book three it seemed to be a bit dragged out and went in circles a few times but nonetheless I was still hooked Now book four was a different story The ending was unexpected and had me in tears Rebecca McNutt did a beautiful job at making the characters absolutely lovable Now I didn't find a lot of the book as disturbing but as very morbid at some times But that's just me I don't find things like this book frightening or triggering because I write all the same Now If this was a true story it would most definitely be horrifying yes I know there is some truth behind it though it is coated in fiction but I'm not sure how close to the fiction the real story really is The ending of this book was honestly the most morbid part of the entire series in my opinion and I'm not exactly sure why I felt that way Most likely it is because none of us really expected anything horrible to happen to poor Mandy One thing I'm still stuck on is whether Mandy and Alecto love each other as friends siblings or lovers I like to think in my own mind that it is a love that is somewhat romantic but mainly just like they really really care about each other I think this series has ended well Of course I am very sad that i'd finished this and I will miss the characters dearly I apologize if my review is all over the place but I'm just writing this out how I would talk about itForever will Mandy Alecto Corey Millie and Hearn live on in our hearts 3

  4. says:

    I received this novel in exchange for an honest review Mandy and Alecto take you on a journey across a lifetime of experience they expose you to an alternative perspective of a world within the world and their story twists the paranormal around the everydayThere’s a meandering yet increasing feeling of suspense running through the story with definite horrifying undertones but ultimately this is a tale of an enduring friendship between two unlikely characters both of whom have been repeatedly let down by those close to them and who face ever increasing odds attempting to tear them apart All of this takes place in an industrial setting but the novel encompasses wider world topics such as the changing pace of progress and mans never ceasing rush for new technology at any cost as well as the impact of environmental changes to small town lifeThis novel is hard to pigeon hole so I would have to categorise it as a supernatural thriller but it could easily be categorised as retro fantasy such is the breadth of the author’s imagination There are scenes of non romantic love loss violence grief elation suffering and redemption as well as condemnation and forgiveness Not bad for a writer who wrote the basis for this whole series aged just 12 years oldDespite having a reasonably strong story line weaving through the whole 4 book seriesencapsulating novel I found it a little disjointed at times and there are clear indications that the author was a little immature and naïve at the time of writing but there’s nothing here that a little polish couldn’t resolve for instance there’s a propensity to repeat certain words and phrasesI would recommend this book to a Young Adult audience although it does contain themes that some might find a little disturbing it certainly wouldn't be out of place in the General Fiction aisle As this isn’t my usual type of reading material I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars

  5. says:

    First and foremost Rebecca McNutt is an accomplished storyteller Her ability to create unique characters of considerable complexity both real and imagined and express her understanding of human nature within the context of a compelling story line is simply terrific Mandy and Alecto drives itself on so many levels an expressionist surreal sometimes brooding sometimes whimsical allegory with a nod toward a modernized Greek mythology based on real events and places but encompassed by the enveloping haze of an otherworldly environment Ms McNutt is someone to keep an eye on This is simply a fine book Read it