REVIEW: Juniper by Ross Jeffery
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
I remember watching Bruce La Bruce’s Otto at the cinema when it came out, and thinking, just as the zombie sex kicked in: gosh, this is a bit shocking, isn’t it?
I can safely say now, however, that the experience stood me in excellent stead for the denouement of Juniper.
It’s difficult to discuss what makes the book so worth reading without giving away one or more of its major plot points. Suffice to say, there are twists upon twists, many of which only become clear towards the very end of the story. And the biggest of those twists - or rather, the way it reframes the events of an earlier scene, which even on its own terms makes you want to wince and bite your knuckles - makes that kitchen moment in Otto look like Sleepless In Seattle.
Twists aside, Juniper is a rollicking read, and its setting - a sort of Road Warrior-inflected post-apocalyptic hinterland with touches of Steinbeck’s Dust Bowl - is surreal enough that its insane plot seems almost plausible.
The novella format means that there isn't much scope for world-building, beyond the immediate realms of the central characters. But since there’s a novel-length sequel in the works, I wasn’t too disappointed.
I’ll be reading the sequel, obviously. And I’d recommend this book to anyone with a sufficiently strong stomach.
It may, however, be a while before I can bring myself to chow down on a plum or a hard boiled egg.