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Richard is, for want of a better cliché, the portrait of an artist as a young man. It is about escape from mundanity and conformity through academia, culture, music, travel and self-mythologisation. It’s about the friendship and camaraderie shared by the Manic Street Preachers, and Richey Edwards’ pivotal role in the band; it is also a novel about the music business, depression, Conservative-ruled Britain and the most interesting rock star of the past quarter century.

Stylistically it is a bildungsroman as equally inspired by writers such as Hamsun, Bulgakov or Sartre – timeless writers who inherently understood the existential burden carried on the shoulders of many a young outsider through the ages – than any contemporary rock biography. Anyone familiar with the life of Edwards will know that Richard can only lead ultimately, and tragically, to the realisation that you can’t escape your own mind.

Richard by Ben Myers is published on 1 October 2010 through Picador.

First posted: Wednesday, July 14th, 2010.

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