Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Ghosting The North

When I covered Gordon Burn's sad death at the age of 61 I failed the spot this superb piece in the Quietus by Austin Collings which surveys Burn's achievements and looks at the 'Northern Noir' of his progeny David Peace. It serves as a fitting tribute to Burn's cryptic legacy. I have to disagree with Colling's criticism of Burn's treatment of character. 'Alma Cogan' is the finest novel I have read, and I found his creation and control of Cogan as a cynical, soiled star satisyingly complex. 'Happy Like Murderers' is the last word on True Crime; the exhumation and burial of a whole genre. Burn is not under-rated, but under-read; critically adored, while most of his potential readership simply haven't heard of him. As his prowess is acknowledged, his grip on the collective imagination can only tighten.

(This post originally published accidentally in the extinct Gravenhurst blog on 30/09/2011)

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