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Richard [Paperback]

Ben Myers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
Price: £12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2010

Set in the 1980s and 90s, in Cardiff, London and America, Richard tells the story of Richard Edwards as he might have told it. A story of hope and despair in equal measure, it's an account of an unhappy young man who'll try anything and everything to get some peace from the voice in his head that tells him he's useless, that he'd be better off dead. He drinks, takes risks and drugs both, and even cuts himself sometimes, because physical pain can be easier to bear than emotional. He can't play a musical instrument, but that doesn't stop him from joining a band -- and as that band becomes more and more successful (record deals and interviews in the music press; national and international tours, and managers who seem to have bottomless pockets), it seems he might just be okay after all. But the demons that nag at him won't be easily assuaged, and ultimately, he has to decide whether or not he has a future.

The story of a band looking to make it big and a young, troubled soul looking just to make it through the night, Richard marks the arrival of a dazzling new talent.


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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: 21.4 x 13.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 373,671 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well executed exercise,with no authenticity 5 Feb 2014
By Andygof
Format:Paperback
Firstly it should be stated that I had misgivings about reading this book,which were put to rest straight away.It is written sympathetically.It is impressive as a work of creative writing ,as I say above, because it takes real commitment to the subject matter and with one so dark as the story of Richard Edwards this is impressive.I for one would not like to imagine his state of mind for very long .Of course this is not the first book to be written this way, but it does have a breadth of knowledge about the band and a sympathy to the working class Welsh roots that is imperative in understanding the man and the band.

I don't know however if Myers actually met Edwards.I would guess that the answer is almost certainly "No" because speaking as someone who met Richey, this voice never rings true at all to me ,although having said that this was not an impediment to me finding it a page-turner none the less.
I am a little disappointed that Myers has not chosen to include any South Walean idioms in the prose style.for someone who was such a gifted poet Richey is represented with an anaemic washed-out pessimistic voice.I actually became annoyed at one point when he says " Bradfield came along with many beers", because in Wales there is not the use of "many thanks", or "we had many beers" which seemed quite glib to my ears when as a Welshman moving to London I would hear suddenly hear this turn of phrase a lot.
It's fair to say that Richey was no patriot, but I would have thought that the rhythym of the speech patterns from where he came would at some point enter into his communicative mode.As such I have to pull the book up quite harshly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting 13 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback
A deeply controversial book - it certainly alienated the band members Richey left behind - that attempts to get inside the troubled head of Richey Edwards and posits the notion of just what happened to him in Feb 1995. I approached the book with some apprehension, but was swiftly spellbound by the quality of writing and the all too fascinating account of Edwards' life. In taking a real person and fictionalising their internal monologue, Myers writing is rather reminiscent of David Peace's The Damned United (a book he mentions as an influence in the bibliography) another book I greatly enjoyed.

It's a well constructed novel, flitting between Richey's past (in italics) and his present, winter 1995 as he commences his withdrawal from the world and ultimate disappearance and possible suicide. The highs and lows of the past are intricately linked to his state of mind in the present and gives the reader an understanding of the man.

If I have any complaints regarding the book it's that it could have done with a tighter edit. Some sentences are missing words such as 'a', 'and' or 'the' and in some cases these words are repeated. Also Myers has a clear love of words like 'Recalibrate' and 'nebulous' which are used a little too often and thus lose or soften the impact of the point he's trying to make in some passages. But these are very minor niggles.

A haunting, tragic, mystery tale not just of Richey himself, but of those he left behind; his family, his friends and his band members.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Condemned To Rock N' Roll 21 Oct 2010
By Franny
Format:Paperback
Ben Myers has written one of the bravest novels in quite some time, not just because of the criticism he has faced but also because he has sought to accurately portray the mind and inner workings of one of rocks most tragic and glamorous figures, Richey James Edwards.

The book jumps between Richey's dissapearance and the formative years of his life in the band, although this may sound daunting it actually works very well and the book might have suffered from being purely linear. Myers handles the subject with sensitivity but is never too cautious as to damage his portrayal of Richey, it would have been naive to have Richard as simply being a tragic figure or as simply being a rock n' roll icon and Myers finds the balance between the depressive Richey and the glamorous spokeperson for the Manics.

I greatly enjoyed this book which I read while listening to Manics songs past and present and I felt that it gave me more of an insight into Richey's mind than any biography could have done, Myers captures almost perfectly one of the most interesting characters in recent musical history and this book reads well for both fans and non-fans alike.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended. 7 Oct 2010
By Russell Smith VINE VOICE
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting exploration of what might have happened. ...
A very interesting exploration of what might have happened. Every fan has wondered, and it is, in fact, fairly cathartic to explore a thesis on what may have gone through the mind... Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. Moron
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Awkward. Clumsy. DISTASTEFUL
I had high hopes for this book, I really did. I'm a huge (early) Manics fan, and as a fellow self-harmer, a Richey devotee too.
So where to begin... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Count St Germain
5.0 out of 5 stars hmmmmmm
Not an easy book to write I suppose, it is so easy to criticise but still very well done, good job son!
Published 7 months ago by Mr Barry Macpherson
5.0 out of 5 stars Crikey - this is heart wrenching
I have to say that this book really struck a chord with me. The despair and lack of any hope rang a bell with a time in my life and whilst I dealt with these problems in a... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mellow Yellow
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and thought-provoking
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. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Cathal Lynch
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Worth Buying!
I really enjoyed reading Richard. It was written in an unusual yet interesting way and I finished it in almost one sitting. Definitely worth reading! :)
Published 20 months ago by Catherine
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a comfortable read
Being a fan of Manic Street Preachers and clearly remembering Richey's disappearance, I was very curious as to what this book would be like. Read more
Published on 26 April 2012 by J. Bonner
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange but compelling
I wasnt sure if i would enjoy this read but i have to say i found it spellbinding. The sad true life tragedy of Rich Edwards is well documented but this book weaves fact and... Read more
Published on 21 July 2011 by A. Hogg
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling
The cynic in me says that basing this book on the life of Richey Edwards gives it both its raison d'Ítre and a ready-made audience, but in this respect I suppose I'm as guilty as... Read more
Published on 6 May 2011 by SpecialOrder937
4.0 out of 5 stars Richey Remembered
This could have been a disaster in the wrong hands, but this is a sensitive 'imagining' of Richey's life, from his time in the band starting with the early days, to the troubled... Read more
Published on 22 Feb 2011 by Mr. K. Cross
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