By far the best work of fiction I have ever read More invention on one page than most authors achieve in ten books To this day I still can not understand why Pompey isn t regarded as one of the greatest books in the English language other than lit circle snobbery towards the author, a restaurant critic at the time Check out too his amusing BBC documentaries and collection of short stories Filthy English especially the one about the dog who works in porn Aniseed. Meades was, possibly still is, a journalist for The Times Pompey, if I recall correctly, was his first work of fiction Pompey is the nickname for Portsmouth in England Meades patently has spent a lot of time there, for all I know he could be from there.The novel follows the life of various Portsmouth inhabitants through a series of linked adventures, culminating in a rather gloomy chapter on death It is quite a long novel, and not for the easily insulted One quote that springs to mind in that regard being She was anally raped by a black man the day she died Make of it what you will, the writing is excellent. This is a fabulously disgusting book It will turn the stomach of the average reader and make them, hurl it away in disgust It is a rollicking tale of misfits, and con men, geeks, sexual misfits and damaged people There is no happy ending, just a long succession of trials and tribulations to which the characters are exposed to, generally ending in messy deaths, set against the foul abscess that is Portsmouth Wonderful stuff. A vulgar tale which brought to mind Heart of Darkness and Marabou Stork Nightmares as well as being a timeshifted parable of the onset of AIDS, here imagined arriving ten years before it did and renamed HoTLoVe although it resembles Ebola and possibly Meades made a connection between it and the Kuru disease that only affects the Fore tribe, cannibals from New Guinea early reports certainly made it sound similar I didn t know Jonathan Meades wrote novels until I chanced across this, as an indirect result of reading a run report of the Portland Coastal Marathon which misquoted Meades suggesting he hated the place whereas he is in fact fascinated by it in the was taken there as a child, visited again and again and in time took my own children there, sort of way Portland is certainly weird enough for JM who now lives in the Unite d Habitation at Marseille, and of course he would you think when you hear this Pompey meanwhile is, when it s not in the Belgian Congo, set along the coast in Portsmouth Pompey to sailors and football fans and also follows the travails of a charismatic Christian sect and here I was reminded of Richard Bruce Clay s excellent Both and Kingswinford Sunset who are building a huge cross overlooking the town I was reminded also of Balumba , a project I never wrote except sort of as last year s NaNoWriMo novel, possibly because it was always of a joke spoof of HoD Apocalypse Now as written by William S Burroughs, that sort of thing it s the combo of sodomy in the Congo and a folded city on the South Coast of England Gravity s Rainbow because the wartime bits, bombing as sex or something like that and Pulp Fiction at one point I went off and wrote an entire scene beginning I just shot Xavier Bob in the face Then there s also Porn Dog You dog. Explosive. After reading this book please wash your hands reads the end of the first chapter Having done so, I can report that Pompey doesn t really require that degree of cleansing There are certainly some unsavoury incidents, but they are not out of keeping with Meades overall vision Pompey is not an easy read The text is dense and adjective filled, some adjectives newly minted for the book Meades vision is very distinct, although for some reason it reminds me of Le Carre in the parts of his novels when rum characters are living in the 50s and 60s, although Le Carre is very staid by comparison with Meades, but, then again, almost everything would be.Overall, Pompey is something well worth experiencing, and the fact that it an experience rather than a read points to its greatness. From The Author Of THE FOWLER FAMILY BUSINESS Comes A Reissue Of His Infamous, Intensely Distilled Epic, POMPEY This Novel Recounts Scores Of Stories Of HoTLoVe, OMO, AO Of A Pygmy Hunt, An Assassination, A Crucifixion Of A Human Blood Bank And A Man With Metal In His Head And A Dentist With Nasty Habits Of Sick Sex, Ill Winds, Malignant Diseases Of The Voys, The Halals, The Puppymen Most Of All It Tells The Story Of A Flaky Pyrotechnicist, Guy Vallender, And Of His Four Progeny, Chief Among Them Poor Eddie, Who Was Quarry, Whose Gifts Were Otherwordly, Whose Gruesome Fate Was Perhaps Transcendent The Action Stretches Seamlessly Between The Mid S And The Mid S Its Many Topographies Include Brussels, Salisbury, The Teutoburgerwald, The Congo, The Industrial Wastes Of Lorraine But The Dominant Setting Is The Titular City A Nightmarish Brick Grid Set On Mud A Populated By Garish Freaks It Is Here That The Characters Move To Their Unique And Inexorable Ends, Fuelled By The Bad Faith Of The Former Comedian Ray Butt S Church Of The Best Ever Redemption And By The Bad Blood Of The Gerontophiliac Jean Marie POMPEY Is A Witty, Gripping, Emotionally Harrowing Work By Our completely filthy, disgusting, sickening, enthralling, brilliant, staggering and heartbreakingly beautiful all at once Fascinating and filthy and disgusting at the same time Despicable and horrible charachters and I can never watch Only Fools and Horses without thinking of this book. A strange, frequently unpleasant book, full of unexpected phrases, some excellent, and as a whole extremely hard to describe Kind of like Gravity s Rainbow, only with grimy suburban incest, less war, and not a single pleasant or relatable character not even the narrator.Not what I was expecting, being a long time fan of Meades documentaries and, frankly, I m not sure of this was brilliant or horrible.
Jonathan Turner Meades born 21 January 1947 is a writer, food journalist, essayist and film maker Meades has written and performed in than 50 television shows on predominantly topographical subjects His books include three works of fiction and several anthologies.Meades is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a Patron of the British Humanist Association.Meades was bor
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- Jonathan Meades
- 22 March 2017 Jonathan Meades