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Richard Paperback – 7 Oct 2011


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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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 350,511 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

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Review

'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' Bookmunch.com

'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' TheQuietus.com

'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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andygof on 5 Feb 2014
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 By Man Out Of Time on 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 By Franny on 21 Oct 2010
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 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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