TEN UK POST-WAR NOVELS THAT LURK IN THE SHADOW
A selection by Ben Myers
Je n'ai jamais rencontré Ben Myers. Je m'en fous, je pense que lui aussi puisqu' on a l'air d'aimer les mêmes livres. Ben a fait le choix de vivre au grand air pour mieux écrire (comme il me le dit, « je ne sais rien faire d'autre »). Avec Adelle, ils ont fait du North East leur prime inspiration. A travers Pig Boy (more here about it), troisième livre de Ben, comme chez Gordon Burn - merci, Ben, merci - il pleut dehors comme dedans. Mais,autant qu'il peut, le West Yorksihre se fait aussi touchant dans cette histoire de knuckle fights, débilité légère, amour ratés, joies simples, zone bucolique, ratages inéluctables.
Ben vient de m'envoyer The Bairn (le gosse en Northern slang), son nouveau livre, à sortir... Avec d'autres, il construit, les wellies dans la boue, ce campag-noir, comme un pendant sombre du Gentleman farmer qui vient à l'esprit de nos compatriotes à peine 'Campagne Anglaise' sortie de notre bouche.
On y reviendra (sur Ben). Mais on ne pouvait pas attendre pour vous faire partager son bon goût, terroir et gouttière. Et l'on vous conseille de suivre ses autres lectures ici...
GBH by Ted Lewis
The best work by the author known for writing Get Carter, GBH delves deep into the murky world of a pornographer who flees London for the grey seaside town of Mablethorpe. Increasingly paranoid as it charges toward a grim conclusion, it captures perfectly the essence of 1970s dead-end England.
The Siege At Trencher’s Farm by Gordon Williams
George Magruder is an American writer who relocates to rural Cornwall with his wife and child to write in peace – but the backwards, hillbilly locals have other ideas during a claustrophobic snowed-in, winter. The Siege At Trencher’s Farm gained fame and controversy when it was drastically reworked as Straw Dogs.
GB84 by David Peace
Margaret Thatcher’s ego-driven class war against the mining industry in the 1980s created one of the darkest periods in British history, the political and social repercussions of which are still being felt today. Peace presents a forensic and gripping study of the minutiae and mechanics of the trade unionists versus representatives of The System.
Happy Like Murderers by Gordon Burn
The disturbing story of couple Fred and Rose West, who kidnapped, tortured and killed at least eleven girls and women, forms the basis for a narrative that raises journalism beyond the cold hard facts of reporting and into the realm of classic literature.
Young Adam by Alexander Trocchi
Trocchi’s tale of a young – possibly sociopathic – barge-worker in Glasgow is taut and tense and as black as the waters of the River Clyde. The 2003 film adaptation starring Ewan MacGregor is well worth watching too.
The Hounding Of David Oluwale by Kester Aspden
The story of Nigerian immigrant Oluwale, a homeless victim of systematic racism and police brutality in Leeds during the 1960s, is as shocking as it is sad and as brilliantly researched as it is compelling.
The Long Firm by Jake Arnott
The criminal underworld of London in the 1960s has been well documented, but few have done is as well as Jake Arnott in The Long Firm, whose narrative weaves together five different stories and features many real life characters, all centred around homosexual gangster Harry Starks.
This Sporting Life by David Storey
The rough and tumble world of rugby in a tough Yorkshire mining town forms the backdrop for This Sporting Life, in which brooding Arthur Machin embarks on a relationship with his recently widowed landlady. Again, Lindsay Anderson’s film adaptation is a classic.
The Grass Arena by John Healy
Like an infinitely more disturbing version of Orwell’s Down And Out In Paris And London, Healy’s autobiography about his years as an alcoholic on the London streets may well be the best ever study of the ills of drink. There’s no romance or bar-stool philosophising here, just violence and madness.
The Not Knowing by Cathi Unsworth
What Cathi Unsworth doesn’t know about London noir and alternative pop culture is not worth knowing. One of the UK’s leading crime writers, this debut combines the two in a 1990s story about a murdered film director, a music journalist and a highly creepy crime writer.
Ps:on vous laisse chercher les traductions (certains, pas tous) en Francais..