Exploring Arts

The Killing Jar by Nicola Monaghan

Meet five-year-old Kerrie-Ann. Things are not easy, living on a Nottingham estate, surrounded by a world of drugs, crime, violence. The Killing Jar follows her journey through childhood as she struggles against very adult issues from a chillingly young age.

Her junkie mother is preoccupied with getting her next fix, so Kerrie is forced to grow up quickly, bringing up her younger brother, Jon. It is her poisonous love for her one friend Mark which sucks Kerrie into a dangerous world defined by drugs. As she begins to deal during the 1980’s rave culture her Broxtowe estate becomes the killing jar from which Kerrie must escape to survive.

In this debut novel, Monaghan returns to her hometown, Nottingham. But this is no autobiography. Instead what Monaghan offers is a potent exposition on the nature of drugs, as Kerrie becomes surrounded by the empty shells of addicts, hollowed out by the habit that both fuels them yet feeds on them.

Despite tackling such raw subject matter, Monaghan’s natural style makes it an easy read. By using Nottingham dialect and slang, Monaghan creates a distinctive and haunting narrative voice in Kerrie, an essentially good person trapped in a bad place. This is her journey of despair and hope which involves gritty, realistic characters in urban decay.

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