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Reviews » Men and Women Who Will Not Grow Up (published 25/07/2017)

The novel’s topography is unmistakably London, though it’s difficult to pin down. The Bacchus Bar where the bohemian characters gather is reminiscent of Soho; the nearby school less so. There are echoes of Peter Ackroyd’s theory that holds the place itself, with its demands for sacrificial offerings, responsible for the crimes it attracts. Kersh, however, puts emphasis on ‘a certain midnight’ rather than the place, estimating the balance of probabilities thus: ‘God, as a gentleman, tries to think well of the watchful enemy, but Evil knows all the tricks.’

Anna Aslanyan reviews the reissue of Gerald Kersh‘s Prelude to a Certain Midnight.

Interviews » Sounds » Factory records: an interview with John King (published 23/05/2016)

I think I look at time as more of a circle than a straight line. Some people are very fixed, section their lives off, but I have never been that way. I do find it interesting how things change, but also how they repeat. People’s problems remain the same. I’ve always liked social history, listening to stories. That’s a big part of our education, really. What shapes us. So it feeds into what I do, makes the experience of writing exciting.

Andrew Stevens interviews John King for 3:AM.

Reviews » The Liberal Politics of Adolf Hitler (published 03/05/2016)

His evocations of white working class London life in the back end of the twentieth century. The very texture of that life, of male friendship, which is so hard to define and yet he nailed effortlessly in book after book. Love and sex and death, peace and war, hard times and good. The willingness to go to places, like the football casual culture of orbital London boroughs, where other writers fear to tread. The warmth and humanity of it all.

Max Dunbar reviews John King‘s The Liberal Politics of Adolf Hitler.

Reviews » With Love and Squalor (published 11/12/2011)

jbAlec, the Jew boy of the title, would not recognise his East End were he to take a stroll through the area today. He would be surprised to see queues outside the old Brick Lane beigel bakery late at night, when clubs are closing and party-goers need refuelling; the display of Singer sewing machines in the window of the nearby All Saints would look familiar to him, but definitely out of place – as a tailor he knows they belong in a sweatshop rather than a swanky clothes shop. All that glamour would come decades later; in the 1930s the area is firmly in the grip of poverty and the tension between workers and their employers is growing.

Anna Aslanyan reviews the London Books reissue of Simon Blumenfeld‘s Jew Boy.

Reviews » Resurrection in Print (published 17/09/2011)

acAs a book that spans the years between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the Blitz, The Angel and the Cuckoo is surprisingly topical today. There are things the author could not have known in the 60s, yet he talks about them as if he was writing a parody of the 21st century popular culture in retrospect. You cannot help laughing at the discussion of cinematography as the new art that will replace theatre soon, while the adventures of a pre-war wannabe actress and her protectors read like a (good quality, it must be noted) tabloid piece.

Anna Aslanyan reviews the reissue of Gerald Kersh‘s The Angel and the Cuckoo.

Buzzwords » Soho Noir (published 15/09/2011)

The Bishopsgate Institute in the City of London is holding a series of ‘London in Fiction’ talks this autumn of obvious interest to 3:AM readers. To celebrate Gerald Kersh‘s Centenary and the new edition of The Angel and the Cuckoo from London Books, Paul Duncan, who has been researching Kersh for over a decade, will […]

Reviews » Sohoitis (published 22/06/2010)

London Calling is a comprehensive history of those places within the city that exert the siren call: the Soho of dandy writers and woozy poets, of rackety drinking clubs and jazz basements. The Ladbroke Grove of radical politics, Pop Art and Performance. The King’s Road fashion youthquake from Mary Quant to McLaren and Westwood. The East End that housed both Throbbing Gristle’s Death Factory and Derek Jarman’s waterside warehouse paradises.

Cathi Unsworth responds to the siren call of Barry Miles‘ history of the post-war counterculture.

Reviews » The West Bletchley Left Book Club Circa 1936 (published 10/05/2010)

mdYou don’t read May Day waiting for an unexpected conclusion. The “party-minded” Sommerfield lays on the Daily Worker line with a trowel. But is not Proletkult ‘pure’ proletarian literature. There is a freshness that is hard to dismiss. Unsettling modernist techniques, of the “Camera-Eye”, collages of newspaper reports, a montage of scenes, interrupt the narrative. As important as the lives of May Day’s characters are the Carbon Works, the Docks, Charing Cross Road, West End cinemas and theatres, the powerhouses of Battersea and Lots Road, the Print, Bus garages, the March, newsbills, statistics on unemployment, industrial accidents and strikes. There is a genuine tenderness and complexity of feeling at work.

Andrew Coates on the reissue of John Sommerfield‘s May Day.

Reviews » Wide Boys Never Work (published 13/12/2008)

rwt.jpgIt’s a consummate dime novel, and doesn’t try to bitch continuity to hell. That fact alone can hide the catastrophe of incoherence that is Jim’s story, and it can also suggest a kind of fashionable nihilism that would be a complete travesty. But there are other possibilities – I’ve outlined one such – and nothing should be settled too soon.

Richard Marshall reviews Robert Westerby‘s Wide Boys Never Work (London Books).

Buzzwords » Ere, Wido (published 26/10/2008)

Hot news from John King‘s London Books stable, who continue to tirelessly slog to rehabilitate some of the capital’s best forgotten fiction of the pre-war era. First up is Wide Boys Never Work, Robert Westerby’s 1937 “masterpiece of low-life literature” (which comes with the added bonus of an introduction by Iain Sinclair): Jim Bankley works […]