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Book review: "Tell me I'm worthless" by Alison Rumfitt

"Tell me I'm worthless" is a haunted house story where the house is called Albion. The house is (clearly) a metaphor for the United Kingdom, with fascism as the force that it haunting it.

Two of the main characters have had a deeply traumatic experience in the house, which each blaming the other of attacking them. This is mirrored in a sub-plot where a TERF makes an unwelcome advance on one of the main characters, only to later claim on social media that she was in fact the victim. (This particular character was perhaps a bit of a fish-in-a-barrel, and the sub-plot could perhaps have been developed a bit more).

The spectre of hatred (particularly that which is directed at trans people) hangs over the novel. There are some genuinely frightening sequences (a retelling of Bluebeard, from the heyday of the house called Albion, had me feeling pretty tense). There are also some interesting experimental sequences-at one point, the text breaks into two columns as a character sees two different versions of events happening at the same time (I use a similar approach for a couple of scenes in "Stigmaplay"- I had written these scenes before I came across Moffitt's book; if I recall correctly they were more influenced by the play "Anatomy of a Suicide").

This is an interesting an intense novel that is willing to take risks, and likely to stick with the reader. If I were being nitpicky, I would say some of the line and developmental editing could have been a bit tighter in places, but this is well worth a look.

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