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Something of the Night [Paperback]

Ian Marchant
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: £8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

31 Jan 2013
Who can say what the night might bring? Mummy tucking you up with Teddy and a cup of Ovaltine? Fireworks and frivolity? A party? Music? Dancing? Or you could be reading in bed, between clean linen sheets before falling into deep and restful sleep and sweet dreams. And who knows; the night might bring romance, or love, or sex, if you play your cards right. Or you might be working; millions of people work at night. If nobody worked at night, Britain would cease to function. Or the night might be cold, haunted, inhuman and wild. When you look up into the night sky, you see that you are nothing. An insignificant mote of dust. Or the night could be all too human. Hen parties in skimpy dresses and fairy wings being slammed into the back of a police van; girls working on street corners in the part of town where the lights don't come on; businessmen going to lap-dancing clubs to forget what waits at home. Or you could die. Most people do die at night. Or you could just lie awake and wait for the dawn. Set over the course of an intoxicated night in a house up a mountain in West Cork, Ian Marchant offers a darkly funny account of what people get up to at night, explores his own experience of a life of night times, and shows us how we all have something of the night about us.

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Something of the Night + The Longest Crawl + Parallel Lines: Or, Journeys on the Railway of Dreams
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (31 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847397794
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847397799
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 569,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Marchant wasn't born in Newhaven in East Sussex in 1958, but he often claims that he was because of his deep embarrasment about his real place of birth.
But he really did grow up there, and went to school there, and he still sees it as home, even though it quite clearly isn't, given that he lives 250 miles away in Mid-Wales.
He didn't make a living singing in bands in the late 1970's and early 1980's; nor did he become a civil engineer in the late 1980's, as he didn't have any facility for the maths. He was surprised to learn recently that he didn't graduate in the History and Philosophy of Science with a Creative Writing Minor from Lancaster University in 1992. He really did live in a caravan for many years, but he didn't share it with a chicken called Ginger, who was rather an occasional visitor.
He put his career as a novelist on hold when his second novel 'The Battle for Dole Acre',(whose title he can't pronounce),didn't really sell. He didn't know much about railways or pubs when he started writing his acclaimed travel memoirs 'Parallel Lines' and 'The Longest Crawl',(though he does now). He did stay awake for countless nights to write his latest book 'Something of the Night'. He's now not writing a new book (provisional title 'A Hero for High Times') because he's writing this instead.
He does, however, teach Creative Writing at Birmingham City University, support Brighton and Hove Albion and sing in a cheesy cabaret duo called 'Your Dad', even though he's not really your dad, unless he is.
You can read his blog, which he doesn't update enough, via his website,

Product Description


It s reminiscent of Nick Hornby or Bill Bryson if you like those writers you ll love Marchant but somehow less needy than Hornby and less reliant on the joke than Bryson. It looks as though it risks being a self-indulgent mess but it isn t. Marchant somehow carries us through all this, with patience, good humour, self-lacerating honesty and an immense amount of charm. I don t see how anyone could fail to like it --Evening Standard

The book proves its worth by offering up a shared emotional understanding of what the night can bring --Scottish Sunday Herald

Is January the darkest month of the year? It certainly feels like it, which gives you a very good excuse to stay inside and read this witty and wide-ranging discussion of the world through the eyes of night owl polymath (writer, musician, lecturer) Ian Marchant... this is an incredibly funny and well written outpouring of one man s life lived according to his own principles, both in daylight and at night --Resident magazine --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Ian Marchant is a writer, broadcaster and performer. He is originally from Newhaven in East Sussex, and now lives with his family in the not-entirely real county of Radnorshire. Before taking up writing books, he sang in various unimaginably obscure bands, wrote up the results of horse races in betting shops and ran a large second-hand bookshop on the Charing Cross Road. He currently teaches creative writing at Birmingham City University and with the National Academy of Writing. Something of the Night is his seventh book.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff 17 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Marchant's books, whether it's on a train up a desolate hill in Wales puffing on rolls ups and looking for a Ritazza coffee fix, or seeking out esoteric boozers on the Scilly Isles, Ian makes an amenable guide.

The main thrust of this book is what we get up to at night - quite a lot it seems. The narrative is a little tenuous at times but Ian heads of to a linen factory in Northern Ireland among other locations and meets some random types who spend their working life under the cover of darkness.

We learn a lot about Ian's personal life; sleep disorders, panic attacks and divorces and how he's come through it all relatively unscathed.

Hopefully he is working on something soon as he has a very easy going style and seems to be having plenty of incidents and adventures for another book - just keep a diary and publish that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, meandering, intriguing 4 Mar 2012
By mike y
I admire Marchant's work enormously, though this perhaps is not his best: it is a little rambling in places, funny and poignant, but occasionally underwhelming. But I will still come back for more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Laugh This Year! 25 May 2013
By Fiona
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the first Ian Marchant book I've read and I can honestly say it made me howl with laughter. He sees the ridiculousness of life, the universe and everything and articulates it admirably. Can't wait to read his other books. (NOTE: I am not his wife, girlfriend or mum.)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Short on Dracula long on 60s pop 10 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love Ian Marchant's writing and bought this after the impressive Longest Crawl. As with that excellent book I found myself postponing important stuff to sit in bed reading his flowing prose, which is both witty and thought provoking in this autobiography with the theme of features of life at night. The book is very revealing and it may be difficult for his family and friends to read some of this, without thinking there is something of his Dad there. Too much candour ? Or is it a post-modern novel with an unreliable narrator. Good, but not as good as his previous, lets hope the dodgy ticker isn't slowing him down. I can't wait for the next Presteigne electric bike race.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindred spirits 31 Jan 2012
The chances of an episodic autobiographical ramble by a pop music obsessive who delights in describing his experiences of skinning up, pissing and failing to exploit the possibilities of Soho massage parlours appealing to me, a church-going lover of classical music, would seem to be slim. Yet I really enjoyed 'Something of the Night', because time and again as I turned the pages I found myself having light-bulb moments of recognition: 'I've been there!'; 'I did that!' or 'I know how that feels!'. I have to admit that this was partly because Ian Marchant's path and mine have actually crossed with spooky frequency, so some of my pleasure in the book is peculiar to me. But still... how how come he can not only recapture for me my teenage passion for David Cassidy, but explain more clearly than I ever understood at the time why 'How can I be sure?' is a fantastic song by any standards? And convey the appeal of Evensong in an Anglican cathedral more vividly than I could do myself? As for the discourse on the rise and fall of the linen industry in Northern Ireland... is he seeing into my head? Are we the most unlikely kindred spirits imaginable? I enjoyed Ian's earlier book 'Parallel Lines', about railway journeys, but 'Something of the Night' is not only more carefully edited but also a lot more personal. I cried, which I certainly didn't expect to do. Don't approach this book with any preconceptions - just go with Ian on his journey through the dark hours, and enjoy.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up to snuff... 31 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Am a huge fan of Marchant (fiction, non-fiction and music - particularly his university band, the Prime Movers, who were extraordinarily fine) - but found myself just slightly underwhelmed, here.

Like 'Parallel Lines' and 'TLC', there's a winning combination of research, anecdote, trenchant opinion and whimsy, but here the central conceit ('exploring... The Night!') just isn't strong enough (or is simply too amorphous) to sustain a whole book. Some of the personal revelations also feel creepily like therapy... worryingly so... and I'm not sure that most readers will feel they're getting what they signed up for when they read the 'Soho' chapter.

Marchant fans will buy (and most probably enjoy) this, regardless... and it's generally an engaging and diverting read. But anyone coming fresh to Ian Marchant's non-fiction would be, I reckon, well advised to try 'Parallel Lines' or 'TLC' first, then come back here when they're already converts to the big felleh's stylings. And then possibly skip the 'Soho' chapter...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sent me to sleep 26 April 2013
By zigzag
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although I was eagerly anticipating this book unfortunately it isnt a patch on Marchants earlier efforts Parallel Lines & TLC.

I was expecting tales of what happens at night, visits to various night events and some amusing insights on these (the welly episode did make me laugh out loud, so Marchant has still got it, just not enough of it in this book). Whilst we do get a few of these, such as a visit to the dogs they are too few and the book degenerates into an autobigraphy of Marchants muddled life, not what I wanted or thought I was getting.

Although written in Marchants usual easy style the book isnt what I thought it would be. Ill give it a 3 for ease of reading, but for content about the night it would have to be a 2 going on 1.
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