Sunday, December 11, 2005

Art of the essay and other news

There is a new book of essays by David Foster Wallace, entitled "Consider the Lobster" - which if its a patch on his previous book of essays, A Supposedly Fun Thing..., will be essential. In other news, a graduate of the MA in novel writing at University of Manchester, Jonathan Trigell, has just won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize for his debut novel "Boy A." I picked this up remaindered in the Soho bookshop about a year ago, so it was kind of strange to read that it had got selected. To my shame, I've not yet read it, but will do. The story of a Bulger-like killer let back into society, the Boy A of the title, is one of those conceits that needs to be well-written to work. I met Trigell when one of my alumni, Mark Powell, came to speak to that year's M.A. and he talked about the book-in-progress then. That must have been...2000? It was the same night that I heard that another Manchester-taught novelist, Gwendoline Riley, had got her agent. It seems a long time ago. Back to my earlier comment about sports writing, another friend has recently turned semi-pro Cagefighter, and won his first bout on Sunday night. It surely deserves at least a story.... And its good to see Scarecrow magazine back after a little absence, no doubt digesting the new Houellebecq, though I will probably lose what remaining counterculture credentials I have by questioning the validity of "Stewart Home's" writing. For those who don't know Stewart Home is an "art project" - or then again, may not be. I recall reviewing "Suspect Device" for PROP magazine several years ago, and coming to the conclusion that it didn't really matter one way or another. I am intriqued by the project; but find the writing....well, not interesting enough. I'm reminded of how the anarchist band Crass, worried at the phallocentricity of their work to date, came up with the female-sung "Penis Envy" album; and produced a "lovely" single which was given away free with "Loving" magazine. That, is true subversion. I can heartily recommend "Love Songs", a book of Crass lyrics and history. A very un-Christmassy Christmas present last year. People who bought the new Stewart Home book "Tainted Love" also bought Nick Laird's "To a Fault", Iain Sinclair's "Edge of the Orison", Simon Reynolds' "Rip it Up and Start Again" and best-of-all room-sized Italian cookbook classic "The Silver Spoon," according to Amazon. The bookshelves of Hoxton will be groaning.

2 comments:

Enfant Pas Terrible said...

Hey mate, I remember that night, how are you? Still in touch with Mark?

So did you like the book or not? Or still not read it?

best wishes

jonathan

Bournemouth Runner said...

Took me ages to find this post! Yes, still in touch with Mark, he's been in the US for a number of yrs now. Give us an e - its adrian dot slatcher at gmail dot com. Began reading the book, but got waylaid, you've jogged my memory.