'A wonderful book' -- Ken loach
'Terrific' -- Harold Pinter
'The Grass Arena' is a masterpiece -- Ervine Welsh
'The grass arena is a one off .... one of the most compelling pieces of literature i have ever come accross' -- The Irish post
'Time and again one is appalled by the pleasure The grass Arena furnishes as literature, when it is so clearly not fiction. And this sense of the reader#s dilemma as a priviledged observer in a world of casual savagery that is palpably real is a troubling and thouroughly enriching one' -- John Kemp Literary review
The last thing John Healy needs is a tidy snippet of blurb from the likes of me which is a good thing because economy defeats me; I don't know how to be moderate or concise in praise of his startling autobiography `The Grass Arena'. So economy I'll leave to him, a master storyteller with an ear, an eye and a voice that should be the envy of many men with weightier reputations. There is no perceptible distance between the words, which seem to have chosen themselves and the experiences from which they blossomed like a garden of wild flowers. Armed to the teeth with his wit and self-knowledge he takes us to that other place, his grass arena, the one which we pass how many times in any given day, averting our eyes? The one into whose violent clutches we might descend more easily than we dare to contemplate. He is our jaunty, gleeful tour guide and messenger from hell. His fellow combatants, exuberant, murderous and sentimental, by turns touchingly loyal, vengeful and treacherous seem to have sprung from the same bloodlines as Falstaff, Pistol, Nell and their fellows. They pitch their tents in the same refuse-filled shadows as their forebears; a confederacy of the dispossessed. Healy's life, were it not for an astonishing turn of events, seems predestined to be a short one.
As in Knut Hamsun's mighty book `Hunger', we are utterly compelled both by the power of Healy's story and his great power in the telling of it, no matter how bleak the outlook, to stay by his side until the last word is writ. -- Daniel Day Lewis, August 2008
-- Irvine Welsh
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About the Author
Healy was born into an impoverished, Irish immigrant family, in the slums of Kentish Town, North London. Out of school by 14, pressed into the army and intermittently in prison, Healy became an alocholic early on in life. Despite these obstacles Healy achieved remarkable, indeed phenomenal expertise in both writing and Chess, as outlined in the autobiographical <I>The Grass Arena</I>.
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