"You're fire horses, twice over. Conceived and born under the sign. You're the end of the world, you two."
Fire Horses is a contemporary novel written in a poetic literary voice dealing with the hard grit of British life as experienced through Joe Noone. It's about consequences and how Joe has to travel a world that doesn't always make sense whilst his past and future rage against him.
"All the sublime magic of youth had been knocked out of me; I was still wandering, but all the wonder had gone."
Joe doesn't walk a track that commercial demographics would predict walking into Burtons and spending money. He walks off the beaten track. Sometimes invisible, sometimes walking into traps that destroy those around him. He embraces the drinking culture and is wired chemically for sex, yet is a hopeless romantic.
"Hours were lost, the sky darkened, alcohol began to coat my brain and eat away at all the layers of sophistication, culture and self-consciousness."
Blur's, Modern Life is Rubbish, sums up this book well. Yet despite this, or because of this, there is hope and redemption threaded throughout the book. Mark Piggott shows us the rubbish, but embraces it and produces art and a life for Joe that has beauty once Mark has shown you how to look.
Mark Piggott obviously loves his characters. At one point Jo muses, "Only be a passenger if the driver has something to live for," and it could be said the same for Jo as a character in Mark's novel, "Only be the protagonist if Mark gives me something to live for." I can almost see Mark pitching the job to fictional Jo, "It will be bad, real bad. But you'll get to have lots of sex and I'll dangle the carrot of love before you. The money will be shit though."
As in life, where humour is born out of misery and gives reason, Mark's book is full of fun one liners. At one point Jo says, "It came as a relief when I reached my 34th birthday because then I knew for sure I wasn't Jesus."
As a debut novel it shines, both in the quality of the writing and the insights into mankind and modern history.
Now that's not bad.
Shiny stuff from rubbish - go buy it and see for yourself.