A dazzling new novel about the impact of Thatcherism on a generation — from the author of Awaydays and Powder.
At the age of fifteen Danny May has just one dream: to be an artist and to go — like John Lennon before him — to Liverpool Art School. Living in Toxteth with his mother and five sisters, Danny meets Nicole and falls in love. She’s clever, politically aware, and astonished at how unworldly an inner-city kid can be.
In the autumn of 1980, Danny receives the devastating news that the Art School’s funding has been withdrawn by the new Tory government. He slides into apathy, robbing and drug dependency. Nicole stands by him, trying desperately to break his depression, but when he burgles her parents’ house, she abandons him and leaves for Paris. Their love affair, played out to a soundtrack of Bowie and Joy Division, is grand, romantic and doomed.
Then, in July 1981, he finds himself sucked into the longest, most exhilarating and frightening day of his life. Set on fire by rioters, Toxteth is ablaze. Danny, transfixed, starts to paint versions of the same picture, over and over again. His subject is Toxteth in flames.
He writes to Nicole, a cry for help. She hears him and tracks him down.
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Kevin Sampson is the author of seven novels: Awaydays; Powder; Leisure; Outlaws; Clubland; Freshers; and Stars are Stars.Review:
“Buzzing with post-punk energy and righteous indignation. The result is a novel that has you feeling sad and angry about Thatcher’s Britain all over again.”
–Independent on Sunday
“It’s when Sampson is detailing the violence of the Toxteth riots that his descriptive powers are really exercised.... Stars are Stars has a solid emotional core — it’s about the limits of idealism, and the transformative potential of young love.”
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