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.
Posted by Adrian Slatcher at 10:53 AM