John Muckle: London Brakes
Published 15 January 2010
Paperback, 294pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £12.95 / $20
Tony Guest is welcome wherever he goes—a motorcycle courier on a big bike, picking up and dropping all manner of urgent parcels, letters, and duly getting his dockets signed. In July he rides in a sweat bath, in February the rain is freezing needles, the roads of the West End are greasy with spilt diesel, glistening tracks of motorcyclists weaving through them like slug trails. But where is Tony going? What is contained in his ultimate mystery packet? What becomes of lost friendships? He chases his shadow-man through an illusory maze of skid pans, trick exits—the answer to every question he can frame seems to lie behind every locked door in London town. Set in the 1980s, London Brakes shows us an England of conflicting loyalties and low impostures—a city divided by inequality and opportunism: a place where forgetting is compulsory and paranoia is the outcome. Tony is determined to cut through it all to the truths of his life.
Praise for John Muckle:
"The milky bar gleam of Kensington in the sun . . . memory of Spitalfields in the rain . . . a small flask of Southern Comfort . . . John Muckle's window on that world is the one people will eventually look through." —Tom Raworth
"It's a wonderful book—marvellously constructed, and of a fidelity to experience such as you only come across with a true storyteller—as distinct from word spinner! I congratulate you—I'd love to read more by you—and . . . from my heart I thank you." —John Berger
"I don't think I've read anything for quite a while—perhaps not since Norman Lewis' memoir Jackdaw Cake—which conjures up quite so effectively this peculiar inter-zone between the behemoth of the city and the hinterland of the country. And on top of all of this there is the wrenching portrayal of a family at odds with itself in the most violent fashion, rendered without cant or sentimentality." —Will Self
"I think Cyclomotors is my best book of 1997 and a real bit of quality in a fairly bleak landscape." —Michael Moorcock
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