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Burnside crafts a lyrical but loose tale

John Burnside is better known for his poetry than his prose and each sentence in Living Nowhere shivers in its senses, conjuring tastes, smells, textures and sounds. For lovers of language, some passages will

be pure delight.

The story focuses on the lives of two main families living in the industrial town of Corby, Northampton and the ubiquitous presence of the town‘s steelworks provides a fiery core around which histories and imagery revolve. The Works drew disparate families to the place which most of them hate, dims the night sky and coats everything in a grime from which they are all trying to escape.

Essentially it is the idea of this elusive escape that concerns each character. They all seek a return to something purer, untainted and true and which takes the form of Iovelorn friendships, the nurturing of a garden, dropping acid, music and books - anything that expands their souls beyond the Works and draws them closer to an idea of home. Most of them don‘t find it, but it is with two young lads - Francis and Jan - where you feel there is most hope. Things, naturally, don’t go to plan.

From different voices the story evolves, but the novelist’s hand is lacking in crafting each voice into a cohesive web. Too many loose threads, as beautiful and silvery as they are, are left drifting in the murky breeze. It’s a brave book but is so sprawling that you are left as


SUPERMAN: RED SON NO 1 Mark Millar, Dave Johnson and Andrew Robinson

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104 THE LIST 5~