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Landor's Tower [Hardcover]

Iain Sinclair
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A writer, who has lived for years in London, reluctantly acknowledges his growing obsession with the Ewyas Valley on the border of England and Wales. Commissioned to write about Walter Savage Landor's disastrous attempt to set up a senatorial estate around Llanthony Abbey, he is sidetracked by more recent conspiracies: a bizarre series of twenty-seven suicides in the secret defence industries and unreliable witnesses who claim to have uncovered the truth about the Thorpe case. A burnt-out media burn called Kaporal, employed to research these events, sends the narrator taped reports from his journeys up and down the M4, tapes that come to seem like messages thrown over the side by a lost and fraudulent round-the-world sailor - are they evidence, or deranged fictions, contrived to keep Kaporal on the payroll? The valley is revealed as the site of persistent attempts to found or imagine utopian communities, all fascinated by the mythology of the west. The narrator is accused of one of the murders that Kaporal is researching. Incarcerated in an asylum on the River Usk, long-suppressed memories of his childhood in Wales return to haunt him. This is lain Sinclair's first novel for eight years, and his first book to be set outside London.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Hutchinson
  • ISBN-10: 009177327X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091773274
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Review

'This is Wales seen from a car driven by Hunter S. Thompson with Joseph Conrad and Alan Ginsberg as passengers... As with Withnail and I, you can get very lost in the world of this marvellous book, governed by its own irresistible logic' Russell Celyn Jones, The Times 'Sinclair's use of tight-lipped, desiccated prose is at times reminiscent of John Banville. When he cartwheels across a page, his blurr is almost the shade of James Joyce - plus there's the clear ironic glitter of Don DeLillo, a kind of compressed, intelligent prong. But Sinclair is reminiscent of no-one but himself. His writing sings' Scotsman 'Landor's Tower, like Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, holds you captive' Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Iain Sinclair is the author of White Chapell, Scarlet Tracings; Lights Out for the Territory; Lud Heat; Rodinsky's Room (with Rachel Lichtenstein); and Radon Daughters, all available from Granta Books. Born in Wales, he now lives in Hackney, East London. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Intense as a you can take it 22 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book is intense. It reads like the automatic writing of an obsessive. The references explode outward like a firework but the text is always forced back to the subject. The writing is unusual but very very powerful. It's hard to look away from the story and there is a depth here that very few writers could match. This book clearly contains a great deal of research. It cannot be easily described. (But oooh it's good).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breather from the old confrontier 7 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This feels like Sinclair deciding it was time he got out into the country for a bit and put some ancestral mud on his boots. You get the impression from the tone that, looking back on Mother London's silhouette, he thinks he might have made a serious mistake. This is a bit like the Young Ones on Summer Holiday -- a big double decker bus wandering around the Welsh borders full of people who don't really belong there. I loved it. But then Sinclair is my man. He's even better than Moorcock or Ackroyd or Kersh or all the others. I enjoyed the gingerly relationship with the natural world but I bet Sinclair will be glad to be back in the city. He is turned on by Hawksmoor, not hawks. Give yourself a real treat. Full strength stuff by one of Britain's best.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm lost 6 May 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So that's what it was all about ... I've just read the synopsis. Locally, every sentence or indeed every paragraph made sense. They just didn't seem to add up to anything like a story that made sense. Characters come and go. Storylines come and go. Nevertheless, it was oddly enjoyable, with a fine sense of place, and wonderful vivid language.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sinclair the novelist returns, on cracking form 19 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I was put off starting this, the first formal novel he's committed for ages, by a dismissive review by some misbegotten hack in one of the broadsheets; 'He's lost it', the substance.
I shouldn't have worried. Lost? Hell, he just got here! This is the full purple microdot and no messing. The moment the town of Hay-on-wye falls in his sights and the bile glands lock-and-load, you know he's really on. A ranting intensity which recalls, but is utterly unlike, the hynotic tones of Burroughs. A kvetching, obsessive exploration of his Welshness, a billious assault on the aforementioned hamlet, a myriad conspiracy theories, some well-kent faces from 'White Chappel' and 'Radon Daughters' and walk-ons for Howard Marks and the ghost of Ritchie Manic.
Like a good bender it all passes in a hilarious, terrifying blur, and you're left gingerly piecing it all together in retrospect. It's too soon to know, but certainly I'd place this up there with his best. And perhaps the strands here are even more intricately woven, the comedy blacker and more knockabout and the rolling boil of the rhetoric even more intense than ever before.
Stand aside for the undisputed one-and-only. Right here, right now, no-one does it better. In fact, no-one does it at all. "You can't dig this, you can't dig nothing, you want the real thing, or you just talkin'?"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 26 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Not much I can add to the professional reviews. This is a brilliant, enjoyable, funny, quirky book by one of Britain's finest writers. Enjoy!
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