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Sugar and Rum

Unsworth Barry

ISBN 10: 0241121949 / ISBN 13: 9780241121948
Editorial: Hamish Hamilton, London, 1988
Condición: Very Good Encuadernación de tapa dura
Librería: Merandja Books (Cornwall, Reino Unido)

Librería en AbeBooks desde: 3 de octubre de 2001

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A hardback book with both book and jacket in very good condition, dated 1988, First Edition. N° de ref. de la librería 053939

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Detalles bibliográficos

Título: Sugar and Rum

Editorial: Hamish Hamilton, London

Año de publicación: 1988

Encuadernación: Hardcover

Condición del libro:Very Good

Condición de la sobrecubierta: Very Good

Edición: First Edition

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A "powerfully done" (Times Literary Supplement) and tantalizingly semi-autobiographical novel from the author of the Booker Prize-winning Sacred Hunger.

Unable to work on his novel about Liverpool's slave trade, Benson is teaching creative writing and wandering the city. The pupils who bring him their fantasies are a sad, dispossessed group with varying degrees of literary talent. Caught up in a series of bizarre events, Benson nevertheless finds his own imagination sparked by an encounter with two old army colleagues: Thompson, down-and-out and homeless; and Slater, a fabulously wealthy entrepreneur. In trying to heal old wounds, Benson unleashes a plan that just may blow up in his face. "There is a violent resolution to this obsessive and provocative novel that examines the abscesses and abysses beneath the violence of urban life and offers a quixotic personal answer." ― The Times [London] "Fine descriptive writing and spirited humanity." ― The Guardian Published for the first time in the United States Booker Prize-winning author of Sacred Hunger


The central situation--an aging, slightly dotty, blocked novelist going to seed amid the blight of late-Thatcher Liverpool--sounds irredeemably depressing, and yet by some narrative miracle Barry Unsworth makes Sugar and Rum a work of spirited playfulness, human sympathy, and quicksilver imagination. Clive Benson, hopelessly stuck in his historical novel about the horrors of Liverpool's slave trade, has taken to offering private instruction to a ragtag group of would-be writers he calls "the fictioneers." Prowling the shattered city streets in search of "signs, portents, auguries," Benson witnesses a suicide--a flashing leap from a high building--and soon after runs across an old wreck of an army buddy from World War II.

These encounters precipitate a crisis: Benson becomes obsessed with a traumatic wartime episode in which he inadvertently led a friend to his death, and then, stumbling from fantasy to action, he hatches a scheme to exact revenge on the arrogant second lieutenant they served under. As engrossingly bizarre as it is, plot in Sugar and Rum is secondary to narrative warp and woof--metaphor, allusion, surreal juxtapositions. A hypnotist neighbor appears to offer advice on getting rid of the owl that has invaded Benson's flat; a magazine featuring Dali and Verdi leads to the detested second lieutenant; the terrible legacy of the slave trade shadows every aspect of contemporary Liverpool.

Sugar and Rum is at once an inflamed political novel of class and race warfare, a satire of current social malaise, a portrait of the artist as a damaged but still plucky old man, a meditation on the meanings of performance, and a ripping good read. It is also an amusingly distorted autobiography, since Unsworth in real life succeeded in writing the slave-trade novel that defeats his alter ego--Sacred Hunger, which won the Booker Prize. It's quite a juggling act, but Unsworth proves himself more than equal to the task. --David Laskin

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