Downriver is a brilliant London novel by its foremost chronicler, Iain Sinclair. WINNER OF THE ENCORE AWARD AND THE JAMES TAIT BLACK MEMORIAL PRIZE The Thames runs through Downriver like an open wound, draining the pain and filth of London and its mercurial inhabitants. Commissioned to document the shifting embankments of industry and rampant property speculation, a film crew of magpie scavengers, high-rent lowlife, broken criminals and reborn lunatics picks over the rivers detritus. They examine the wound, hoping to expose the cause of the city's affliction . . . 'Remarkable: part apocalyptic documentary, part moth-eaten ghost story, part detective story. Inventive and stylish, Sinclair is one of the most interesting of contemporary novelists' Sunday Times 'One of those idiosyncratic literary texts that revivify the language, so darn quotable as to be the reader's delight and the reviewer's nightmare' Guardian 'Crazy, dangerous, prophetic' Angela Carter Iain Sinclair is the author of Downriver (winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Award); Landor's Tower; White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings; Lights Out for the Territory; Lud Heat; Rodinsky's Room (with Rachel Lichtenstein); Radon Daughters; London Orbital, Dining on Stones, Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire and Ghost Milk. He is also the editor of London: City of Disappearances.
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Iain Sinclair is the author of numerous works of fiction, poetry non-fiction, including Lud Heat; White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings; Downriver; Radon Daughters; Lights Out for the Territory; Rodinsky's Room, with Rachel Lichtenstein; Landor's Tower; London Orbital; Dining On Stones; Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire and Ghost Milk; American Smoke and London Overground. Downriver won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Award. He lives in Hackney, east London.From Kirkus Reviews:
Winner of the 1992 Encore Award in Britain, Welsh-born poet and antiquarian-bookseller Sinclair's second novel (but first US publication): a tumultuous, frenzied, and mercilessly critical story of London past and present. Constructed as a series of interlocking stories, the primary focus is on the Docklands, a rundown wharf and warehouse district that was targeted for upscale redevelopment in the boomtime of the early-80's, but that the subsequent recession has reduced to an unfinished folly. The author as narrator, along with a handful of eccentric companions, accepts the task of uncovering whatever items of historical interest might exist about it, ostensibly for a documentary film, exploring the area by rail and by river in search of clues that will unlock its secrets. The 19th-century tales of a champion aboriginal cricketer, King Cole, who came from Australia to clobber his English opponents only to succumb to the London air shortly thereafter, and of a disastrous collision on the Thames that left hundreds of holiday pleasure-seekers dead are among many historical motifs woven into the saga, with futuristic scenarios of satanic rites enacted on the Isle of Dogs by papal and corporate conspirators being equally vivid. The depth of erudition and full- scale incorporation of book-, film-, and folklore are certainly impressive, but a troubling lack of cohesion in such diverse, unfettered flights of fancy is ultimately admitted by the narrator himself, who finally turns the story over to his fellow traveler rather than attempt to tie it together himself. Lavishly phrased to a point of self-indulgence, restless, and wild: less a novel than a frenetic tour of a city and culture that, unfortunately, leaves one coolly appreciative at best. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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