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Pig Iron Paperback – 31 May 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Bluemoose Books Ltd (31 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956687679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956687678
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ben Myers is the author of a number of books spanning novels, biography and poetry.

His new novel is 'Pig Iron' (Bluemoose, 2012), was published under his full name Benjamin Myers. It was runner-up in The Guardian's Not The Booker Prize 2012.

His work has been translated into seven languages and his short stories have appeared in dozens of print anthologies and underground publications. His previous novel 'Richard' (Picador / Pan MacMillan, 2010) was a best-seller.

As a journalist Myers has written about music, literature and the arts for numerous publications including The Guardian, the BBC, Mojo, Alternative Press, Melody Maker, Time Out and websites including 3:AM Magazine and Caught By The River.net.

He currently lives in rural Yorkshire, UK and regularly blogs at: www.benmyersmanofletters.blogspot.com

Product Description

About the Author

Benjamin Myers is the author of the bestselling novel Richard.

As Ben Myers he has also published works of non-fiction and poetry, translated into seven languages.

His writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Guardian, Mojo, Time Out, 3:AM, Caught By The River and NME. He was born in Durham in 1976.

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Customer Reviews

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sue Denim on 19 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Pig Iron, Ben has managed the tricky task of weaving some incredibly tricky and often shocking themes into a beautifully poetic narrative.

I'm sure each reader will make their own minds up about the characters, but there is a theme that runs through each of the interconnecting stories; one of earthiness, 'belonging', and ultimately escape and freedom. I read this cover to cover in two sittings, it's gripping, pacy, and often surprising. I was drawn into the characters and cared about them. The use of Durham vernacular and location is, I think, pretty unique, and comes from a place (I feel) of genuine warmth You can feel it in a way that I've never encountered before in writings about the North East.

Make a good film, I reckon.

I've given it five stars because I think it's the second book I've ever read that I'm still thinking about. It's stunning. My conclusion is somewhat scientific - Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Read it, you might see what I mean. In fact, I implore you to read it. If you buy anything before this book, I am going to sneak round in the night and replace it with Pig Iron.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Book Geek Says on 9 May 2012
Format: Paperback

First off the cover of this book was the hell of a shock after what I read about the book. Now that I've read the book, the cover makes sense! Wooooo!

So, on with the rest of it.

The whole novel is written from two perspectives. That of John-John and Vancy. John-John's is written as first person where as Vancy's seem to be written as letters to John-John or even a diary addressed to him. This is really enjoyable as two very different lives are described and two very different perspectives on life are. Both use language/spelling/phrases/words to denote dialect and place etc. I am really enjoying this writing technique at the moment and actually miss it when I think about it not appearing in books I'm reading.

I loved John-John. He endeared himself to me extremely quickly. I felt sorry for him, happy for him and about a million other things for him all at the same time. He is so old fashioned, it is so lovely! All the poor lad wants is a life where he can be happy. He seems to want the traveller life but without the stigma of being a Wisdom attached to it. Vancy has the traveller life but seems to hate it and want to be free of it. All I wanted was to be able to give them both what they wanted! Mac is evil and I really hate him. He is a horrid, disgusting and despicable human being. I feel indifferent about Maria. I don't really know how I'm meant to feel about her.

There are some heavy issues looked at and examined in the book. Racism, domestic violence, abuse etc. They are dealt with very candidly yet they do not seem gratuitous. Things are not dealt with in a vulgar or brash way but that doesn't make the events any less upsetting or hard hitting. However, some aspects of the racism don't give us Welshies a good rep!! Boooooo!!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By annwiddecombe on 2 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Pig Iron' was recommended in The Guardian Readers' Choices 2012 (usually far more reliable as a source of good, interesting fiction than the critics/authors version). I'd not heard of it, or Ben Myers. Sorry Ben. But being a big fan of earthy British novels, with swearin, drugs, fightin n'that, I purchased.
The book is set in the area around Durham. The main drive of the narrative - a man trying to re-make his life after being released from prison - is hardly original. But Myers' central character, twenty-year-old, runtish, big-eared gypsy John-John Wisdom, is engaging and compelling enough for this not to matter. He's at odds with the world - teetotal, a virgin, troubled, put upon, though a man who will obviously stand his ground. He gets his highs from Nature, not tack or billy. He's read books (revealingly, 'Robinson Crusoe' is his favourite; he has himself been cast away from family and gypsy society). John-John's is one of two narrative voices; his is present tense, full of north-east vernacular, naïve; with warm and witty observations. It reads tremendously well. The other, the recollections of his mother Vancy, is at times implausibly poetic, and she is puzzlingly able to relate in great detail events at which she has not been present. Has she got a crystal ball or some Tetley leaves in that caravan of hers?
John-John's late father Mac is the beast who rampages through the novel. A champion bare-knuckle fighter, boozehound, and all round bad egg, his unwholesome shadow darkens John-John's life. Again, brutish fathers are not the most original characters in fiction, and attempts to escape their influence not the most original theme...but still, the vivid, vibrant way Myers dramatizes the gypsy world, its characters, customs and restless spirit carries us along.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Col B on 13 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's not often that I feel compelled to write a review of anything, however this book is just one of THOSE books, you know the kind, the book that stays with you long after you have completed reading, in fact part of me didn't even want to get to the end, I had become so engrossed in the character of John-John that I just wanted his story to continue with me for another few weeks.

I completed this book in 3 sittings, it was just too good to put down, the only other book that has gripped and stayed with me was The Road - for quality, compelling, dark and brutal yet poetic fiction I find them both on a par - yes the story that Ben weaves in the double narrative is that good.

I'm not going to detail any of the storyline here, other reviewers have done that already, just do yourself a favour and read it!
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