Every Last Psycho is a collection of two novellas by Zarina Macha, a British author based in London. As an American reader, it was extremely interesting to read the characters’ inflections and diction as well as get a glimpse into the university and schooling systems.
In both novellas, the narrator is in school preparing and working through A-levels. Tess, in ‘Every Last Thought,’ is struggling with schizophrenia and addiction (to both substances and her best male friend) while Evelyn, in ‘Psycho Girl,’ feels confident that she will be accepted into Cambridge. The focus is not, however, directly on school but rather the narrators’ lives and desire. The first-person present tense perspective allows the reader to truly see what is happening from the characters’ minds and each narrator is unique.
Macha captures both personalities expertly. Tess’s voice is immature and deeply broken. She is dealing with paranoid schizophrenia with auditory and visual hallucinations. She had a twin that was killed in a car crash and has replaced his influenced in her life with her friend Ed. Dealing with more than her internal mental difficulties, Tess soon spirals further out of control and must decide if she wants to recover at all.
Evelyn, however, is poised and haughty. She shows all the signs of a psychopath and does not understand why others have any sort of emotions. She is never embarrassed, that she makes explicitly clear, and she will definitely be accepted into Cambridge. No question. She is the ideal choice. Her father is the only one she truly clashes with as, it is hinted, he also carries psychopathic traits.
I enjoyed both novellas. I am not usually a fan of present tense narration, however Macha uses it well and I quickly adapted to present tense. I enjoyed the psychology in both characters. Both stories are fairly dark and include somewhat mature themes, however Macha handles it in such a way that I believe her stories can still be enjoyed by a wide audience. College students or seniors in high school (or equivalent) in any country will enjoy these novellas as, even if they cannot relate directly to the characters’ mental disorders, they can relate to the stress of revising for finals and applying to colleges. (Revising means to study, correct?)
Zarina Macha did provide a free copy with no obligation to review and these are my honest opinions. I did purchase this and her poetry collection through Kindle Unlimited and am enjoying her poetry collection as well. I’m glad I was able to read her words.
To see more about Zarina Macha or to buy her book, follow the links below: