Nana – by Mark Towse – Book Review – Novella

Hi everyone! I’m reviewing ‘Nana’ today, and it will be spoiler-free.

Uhhhh so, this book is about… it’s….. um. Nana is a savage but hilarious masterpiece. No, I’m not joking. This is the sort of thing I think Angry Goat would enjoy, and I’ve got no idea what I was expecting from the cover or the title, but it wasn’t what I ended up with. I’m laughing just at the memory of reading it as I write this.

This is the story of Olly, whose parents seem to be having some marital troubles, and he gets sent to stay with his Nana for the evening. Nana is old, and she has friends. They’re not your average bunch of pensioners. They’re troublesome.

Remember Ace and his buddies playing mailbox baseball in Stand by Me? Nothing compared to Nana and her cronies. Nana and her pals are naughty (no, not like that, you perverts… well, actually…).

The book opens by cycling through chapters from the POVs of several elderly characters. We are introduced to 8 characters before we even get to Olly, our protagonist, and normally this would be too many for me. However, these characters are so distinctive and humorously written that I had no trouble keeping up with who was who, and it wasn’t confusing at all. It gave me a real sense of the kind of people we were dealing with (and that there’s something… off… about these folks), and how they’re seen by others outside their social bubble. It also immersed me in the neighbourhood.

The first note I made, after reading several absolutely disgusting descriptions of things that would put any sane person off their dinner – especially if they’re eating pie – was, “why is this so funny?” The author really has a talent for dark comedy. It’s rare that I laugh this much at a book, and the stuff that was funny to me seemed to be written so effortlessly. As a writer, it made me extremely jealous.

“She turns, sporting a lady garden big enough to grow carrots.”

Nana takes Olly out with her for the evening, to play Bingo with her friends, and everything that was happening and the way Olly perceived it all was so disarmingly funny that it was quite a shock to me when the horror started. I had the idea that I’d entirely grasped the tone and what kind of story I was reading, and I also believed that I had fully figured out what was happening and where things were headed. Boy, was I wrong.

And when I say “the horror”, bloody hell, I mean THE HORROR. There’s carnage. There’s… there’s… all sorts of things happening. It goes savage. It goes, actually, not funny in the slightest. I couldn’t believe it, I was shocked. My flabber was well and truly ghasted. What I thought was a light and humorous tale of *my theory about what was happening that I can’t share because letting you know I was wrong might spoil it for you* suddenly turned dark and sour, and horrible. It felt so mean – that’s why I thought this would be a perfect book for Angry Goat. But it was awesome. Just when I was at the height of anxiety reading what was unfolding, the author started injecting hints of humour back in.

“It really gets my goat!”

I loved the ending too. I really wasn’t expecting how things went, and it was fun to be surprised. Mark Towse is a really good writer, and definitely someone I’ll be reading more of. The balance of horror and comedy, the way he plays with tone, his set-up and pay-off, story structure, characters – everything about this novella was basically perfect to me.

I’d highly recommend this to… well, all of you. I truly found it an absolute blast to read, and haven’t stopped thinking (and giggling) about it since. An excellent read, and one of my favourites this year.

If you’d like to get your own copy, you can find it here:


If you’d like to check out the author, you can find him here:


If you’d like to look up the publisher, you can find them here:


One response to “Nana – by Mark Towse – Book Review – Novella”

  1. I need to read this one!!


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