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Richard Paperback – 1 Oct 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (1 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330517031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330517034
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239,317 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
www.benmyers.com

Product Description

Review

'Myers is finest when relating the mechanics of life in and around a rock band; never once is there a dropped beat. He understands the reactionary nature of the post-punk diktat, the people it attracts and its importance to lives given up to it.' --The Times

'[an] excellent book . . . In the most arresting of sections, Myers draws on all his journalistic skill and fan-boy credentials to give a realistic account of Edward's final days. Some Manics' fans, not to mention the band themselves, have been less than enthusiastic about the book, understandably given its harrowing depictions of mental and physical health at the time. Yet Myers deserves credit not only for adding a third dimension to Edwards, but for trying a fourth, for attempting to document a period of his life that seems destined to remain a mystery, but could explain much about his complex character . . . Maybe, thanks to this book, [Edwards] is at last getting something he deserves - an insight into his personal conflicts, his efforts to maintain wellbeing and his desire to do the right thing.' --The Times

'this moving, tender novel tells the story of a lost boy adrift in a world that he can't make sense of... Myer's recreation of Edward's life is sensitively handled - an exploration of a troubled, articulate man who was shy and withdrawn.' --Marie Claire

'Richard is not a provocation, nor does it claim to solve the Richey mystery. It is a sympathetic and sad imagining of the boy who became a reluctant pop idol before that notion became oxymoronic.' --Time Out

'What is sure is Myers' skill for storytelling; the absence of any cynicism, a certain hypnotic meditative pace he successfully employs that draws you in as the novel progresses and a mood of melancholic nostalgia, a tantalising nostalgia for a time not long passed but gone forever, before social networking and mobile phones, when NME was samizdat and music, art, culture were things you risked getting your head kicked in for. And a nostalgia for places and people, of course, who are no longer here.' --3:am

'A novel for our celebrity-obsessed age, a thorough investigation - written in beautiful prose - of a young man suicided or disappeared by society. From life in a small town to sex, drugs and rock and roll excess, Ben Myers' Richard slashes and burns its way through the bloated beigeness of the contemporary British novel.' --Bookmunch.com

'This is the extraordinary, imagined tale of Richey Edwards' --Daily Mirror

'Richard is a work of fiction and tells the story of those final few weeks as though it was written by Richey. It's a brilliant book and I loved it.' --The Sun

'A work of fiction that bears a convincing ring of truth... This nuanced portrait of Edwards, explores the band's rise, the Richey myth, and the pain that fuelled his alienation anorexia and self-harm.' --Mojo

'Myers is a sensitive, thoughtful writer... His greatest skill is the atmospheric evocation of landscape and place.' --New Humanist

About the Author

Ben Myers was born in Durham in 1976. He is the author of several works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. His writing has appeared in a number of publications including Melody Maker, NME, Mojo and the Guardian. He currently lives in rural Yorkshire.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Russell Smith VINE VOICE on 7 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As I see it, there would have been several major reasons for Ben Myers to ditch the concept of this book before he'd even started. To write a kind of pseudo-autobiography of someone who is missing, presumed dead, could be seen as massively intrusive, opportunistic and insensitive to his subject's family, friends and band-mates. And, no matter how well researched the facts and events are, it's no substitute for actually having BEEN there in the early days of the Manics. And finally - crucially - how do you narrate an ending to someone's life, in a way that doesn't contradict accepted events, but also works as a piece of fiction? The surprise here, then, is that 'Richard' manages to be a sincere and affecting portrait that manages to be both brutally honest and affectionate.

There are two alternating threads to the book: the 'main story' is an imagined account of Richey's final days told from a first person perspective; an internal monologue constructed around the accepted real-life events. These chapters are interspersed with a more conventional biography, from early life to international tours, albeit told in a 'second person' voice.

Each aspect is successful in its own right. The 'final days' section, perhaps inevitably, is at times self-indulgent, self-pitying and aimless, but then you would expect nothing less of a narcissistic rock star contemplating suicide. For the most part, it manages to sound genuine and believable, even if some the arguments going on inside Richey's head come across as slightly forced and cheesy. The mood is thankfully lightened by a streak of refreshingly dark humour throughout.

The back story of the band is actually more entertaining, and interesting if you only have a passing awareness of their origins.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By UnpluggedMan on 29 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book never really appealed to me due to the fictional nature of it, but when I spotted it for £1.40 in HMV's closing down sale, I was more than willing to take a gamble.

And I'm glad I did.

I devoured this book within the next 48 hours.

Despite it being semi-fictional, it gives what I feel to be a very accurate portrayal of the inner workings of Richey Edward's mind. It really sounds as if it had been written by the man himself.

I definitely had an even greater level of respect for the band and Richey after reading this.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By 12stringbassist VINE VOICE on 11 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The writer tries very hard to get to grips with all of the jumble found in a confused mind.

Manic Street Preachers member Richey Edwards decides, on the eve of an American promotional tour, not to go through with it, as he's not really a guitar player and just feels out of his depth with it all and so the pressure is all too much and he can't do it anymore.

With a history of self-harm that the author tries to rationalise, you have to feel sympathy for Edwards. A sad, but talented and ultimately lost person.

It is quite disturbing to imagine what despair he felt and what his actual thoughts were when he decided not to do this promo tour and when he effectively opted out out of life. It's a brave move to try to portray his state of mind and his thoughts and his last moves from the time.

Flashbacks interrupt, but enhance, the narrative, adding a wealth of background detail about The Manic Street Preachers and memories from Edwards' childhood.

I say with caution that it's an informative book, but it's hard to know what is real and what isn't. I hope that wherever Richey Edwards is now, dead or alive, he's at peace.

A strange book. Cautiously recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alien937 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 May 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The cynic in me says that basing this book on the life of Richey Edwards gives it both its raison d'être and a ready-made audience, but in this respect I suppose I'm as guilty as anyone: I might never have picked up this book had I not already known about Edwards's disappearance.

"Richard" is a compelling read. There's immediacy and intimacy about it. It jumps around a lot, never allowing you to become complacent or bored. I especially liked the narrator's little one-to-one arguments with himself. I actually found myself enjoying - for once - prose that's written in the highly irritating and tiresome first person, present tense.

But this book has to be regarded - and enjoyed - for what it is: a work of fiction. Edwards left behind no indication as to the reasons behind his disappearance, so the narrative of this book basically amounts to no more than guesswork. It provides no answers, and certainly doesn't give much insight into why Edwards might have had a tortured soul. And that's the pivotal word here: MIGHT. This book is only one writer's exploration of what MIGHT have gone on in Edwards's mind. If you can accept it for that, it's really quite good.

Even so, reading a book - no matter how well written or well-meaning it is - that capitalises upon such a sad end to such a promising life might be a little discomfiting to some. After all, Edwards is used as the hook here, to draw readers into what amounts to a highly entertaining but fictional internal dialogue, but I suppose that's the way the world - and especially the publishing world - works.
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