Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Jonathan Coe - The Dwarves of Death # 1 The Smiths


Having a bit more time to myself of late I'm finding I'm reading more. I've been spending quite a bit of time in Newcastle Central Library recently and took out Jonathan Coe's Dwarves of Death which I read originally back in the nineties for a retread through my yeaterdays..  

Coe has been a favourite writer of mine since I read What a Carve Up when I was living an working in Warsaw in 1995. It probably remains his defining work, masterpiece and certainly my favourite of his books. He has a loose, engaging writing style, is not afraid to be political and current. He's always funny and real. Except when he chooses to be surreal. When he's even funnier.

 Dwarves of Death is an early work when Coe was still working out his style and approach. He's already highly playful and focuses here on one of his abiding obsessions. Music. He also dwells  on every adolescent's abiding obsession. Being in a budding rock band.

The band sounds bad. As of course they must be. They are called The Unfortunates. Which is an appropriate Rock & Roll name. Focusing on one of Punk's tropes. Loserdom. There is a murder to whet the reader's appetite before the 25th page. Of course The Smiths provide the soundtrack.


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