This crime thriller, incredibly dark and nauseatingly chock-a-block with rape scenes, follows a cop and a news reporter as they try to get to the bottThis crime thriller, incredibly dark and nauseatingly chock-a-block with rape scenes, follows a cop and a news reporter as they try to get to the bottom of a string of murders in Yorkshire, England in 1977. David Peace does well to keep the suspense high, but I found myself disappointed in the cast of characters overall. There is a lot of intimacy in this book -- which is dominated by male characters -- but none of it takes the form of anything but sex. Even the softer moments, like when officer Fraser spends time with his young son, are overshadowed by veils of sadness and uncertainty. This book is a pill. ...more
This book is inane and an insult to the reader’s intelligence. Having heard the author, a poet from Kent (if I remember correctly) at an event in LondThis book is inane and an insult to the reader’s intelligence. Having heard the author, a poet from Kent (if I remember correctly) at an event in London, I bought this book. In live performances, Harrold has a rich voice and displays a lively sense of humour, so I expected great things from his novel. But there is a reason why he published this book on his own steam: it is awful. He never should have contemplated the jump to prose.
There’s something quite deceptive about this novel from the outset, however. Harrold writes with such flourish, revealing that he has the gift for artfully rendering settings. But the whole book is a veritable house of cards, populated by paper-thin characters. Although I was filled with foreboding as I read, nagged by concerns that this book could really turn out to be a joke on the buyer (who buys a book at a poetry reading?), I kept reading, thinking that surely the author, who clearly spent a great deal of effort fine tuning such a lengthy novel, would be driving at something. I thought that the cake would set-up at the last minute. I hoped that Epitome Quirkstandard, the dumb-as-a-doornail principle narrator, would turn out to be a Jem Finch or Benjy Compson. That his shallow observations and the confluence of events would result in an awesome conclusion, filled with insight, that would have rendered my reading hours worthwhile. But no such thing happened. The cake fell. Harrold’s name should never be mentioned in the same breath as Harper Lee’s or William Faulkner’s or any great prose writer’s for that matter.
This leads me to question why Harrold published this book. Perhaps he really did mean to play a joke on the buyer and pick up a few rotten tenners on the side. But what really troubles me is to see such a remarkable gift for description spent on such a flimsy plot and shallow characters. It's just a waste. ...more
I do not read poetry often, but I found myself inexorably drawn into the South London world created by Laura Dockrill in Mistakes in the Background thI do not read poetry often, but I found myself inexorably drawn into the South London world created by Laura Dockrill in Mistakes in the Background that I savored each poem and ran through the book in the space of a few days. The settings and situations are so urban, yet there's nothing foggy or gray. All the characters are vibrant, and the stories are about common people, common interactions, all told in beautiful rhythm. ...more