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Richard [Paperback]

Ben Myers
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Oct 2011

In February 1995, Richey Edwards checked out of a London hotel instead of flying to the US with the rest of the Manic Street Preachers. There were a few subsequent sightings but then nothing. His body was never found, and he was declared legally dead in November 2008. Now Richard tells the story of his life – and disappearance – as he might have told it.

‘This moving, tender novel tells the story of a lost boy adrift in a world that he can’t make sense of’ Marie Claire

‘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’ The Times

‘A sympathetic and sad imagining of the boy who became a reluctant pop idol’ Time Out

‘Harrowing and hauntingly sad’ Mojo

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Revised edition (7 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033051704X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330517041
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 403,119 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

He currently lives in rural Yorkshire, UK and regularly blogs at:

Product Description


'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' 3:AM Magazine

'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'

'It's not uncommon to hear someone say something to the effect of, “There’s no such thing as a good rock and roll novel” - the next time you hear someone say this, point them towards this book' Bookslut

'Extraordinary' Daily Mirror

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recreation of Edward's life is sensitively handled - an exploration of a troubled, articulate man who was shy and withdrawn' Marie Claire

'There are moments of haunting poetry' Metro

'A work of fiction that bears a convincing ring of truth' Mojo

'Myers' true service to the story is humanising the icon by portraying Edwards outside his common context. Offstage, alone, and out of sight, Richard is fully imagined. Some descriptions of the landscape are so fresh you can smell the moss'

'It's a brilliant book and I loved it' Sun

'Never once is there a dropped beat. Myers understands the reactionary nature of the post-punk diktat, the people it attracts and its importance to lives given up to it' The Times

'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

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
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Condemned To Rock N' Roll 21 Oct 2010
By Franny
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting 13 Mar 2013
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
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and thought-provoking 29 Mar 2013
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling 6 May 2011
By SpecialOrder937 TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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'Ítre 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Well executed exercise,with no authenticity
Firstly it should be stated that I had misgivings about reading this book,which were put to rest straight away.It is written sympathetically. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Andygof
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 2 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 12 months ago by Mellow Yellow
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 15 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 24 months ago 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 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
3.0 out of 5 stars From Despair to Where?
Sitting somewhere between a novel and a biographical account, Richard could be termed, for want of a better word, an imagining. Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2011 by D. J. Franklin
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting angle on an unsolved mystery
I read this book cover to cover , barely pausing, not because I'm a Manics fan but because it's a story well told on a format very similar to David Peace's 'Damned Utd'. Read more
Published on 27 Dec 2010 by A. Betts
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and thoughtful
Firstly let me say I am not a "Manics" fan although I have enjoyed their music and I think this book would read differently for someone who was a fan. Read more
Published on 21 Dec 2010 by Totnes Nigel
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