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Todd Sileen, a rage-driven cripple ekes out a living in a wasted East London borough. This is a comic and alarming epic about a city and a society shredded by random violence and uncontrollable compulsions.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781862075030
ISBN-10: 1862075034
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 126mm x mm)
Pages: 464
Imprint: Granta Books
Publisher: Granta Books
Publish Date: 7-Mar-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » This novel is dark and rich in ideas. It is also very, very strange. It tells the story of Todd Sileen, a haunted, one-legged author, who lives for the experience of being bombarded with X-rays until he hallucinates. In order to get the money he needs for this strange pastime, Sileen acts as an police informant, spinning out fantasies of criminal conspiracies for the mysterious inspector Drage-Bell. Found out, Sileen is forced to go on a quest of sorts to Oxford, to recover a purported sequel to William Hope Hodgson's horror classic, The House on the Borderland. Meanwhile, other stories weave in and out of Sileen's among them, those of Rhab Adnam, a mad hippy mystic and Helen Redpath, Sileen's girlfriend, a TV weather-girl and would-be female boxer. This is a demanding read, largely thanks to Sinclair's distinctive and poetic prose. His style fuses such big-name influences as Joyce, Hunter S Thompson, Ginsburg (Sinclair wrote a book, The Kodak Mantra Diaries, about Ginsburg in London), Pynchon and Burroughs to produce writing that sends many critics into rapture. Admirers of those authors just mentioned should probably pick up Sinclair's work without delay. Others may find the sheer density off-putting. Sinclair is never an easy read. The difficulty of accommodating oneself to his peculiarities is only compounded by the fact that his verbal fireworks occasionally fizzle away into nonsense. Those who are willing to persevere, however, will be rewarded. Once one adjusts, there is much to enjoy about Sinclair's style. Individual lines of description are frequently outstanding. This is also a fascinatingly allusive book, which should probably be read with an encyclopaedia, or an internet search engine, close at hand. Fortunately, Sinclair is not overwhelmed by the many things he references. He is, rather, their master, bringing them together to create a complex network of symbols (some obvious, others not) building throughout the story, evoking a distinctive vision of London as a place where history has seeped into the very stones only to leak out as a malignant spiritual radiation. This, perhaps, is the book's greatest virtue its ability to convey, with tremendous power, a very pessimistic sense of place. Self-consciously literary, then, but with a vein of creativity and insight that more than makes up for any suspicion of empty posing, this reissuing of Radon Daughters confirms Sinclair as an acquired taste well worth acquiring. (Kirkus UK)


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