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The Deadman's Pedal Hardcover – 31 May 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (31 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022407170X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224071703
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 3.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 478,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Warner's new novel, The Deadman's Pedal, amply fulfills his exceptionally fine novel by any standards. Warner's language is deliriously vivid. The Deadman's Pedal is morally sensitive, exquisitely written and emotionally mature. It could not be mistaken for a book by any other author: Warner has triumphantly come into his own (Stuart Kelly Guardian)

He's never written better. The Deadman's Pedal is a novel that will last. This is the best Scottish fiction since Lanark (Brian Morton Scottish Review of Books)

Filled with rich predicament, where parallel lives collide in a creative undoing of the status quo... Anyone who reads it must be grateful that The Deadman's Pedal is the first of a trilogy, and hope that Warner writes quickly (Sheena Joughin Sunday Telegraph)

Compelling.the patterns of Warner's grand design emerge, as mesmerising as the highland scenery he describes with such sublime intensity (Peter Carty Independent)

The prose achieves rhythms and textures of ecstatic beauty, the images are often mesmerising (the descriptions of Simon's oddly peaceful train journeys within the "endarkened cell" of the driver's cab are especially good), the dialogue is pitch-perfect, and the characterisation is vigorous throughout. The Deadman's Pedal is a lovely novel, and a return to form on the part of one of Scotland's most brilliant writers (Edmund Gordon Sunday Times)

Book Description

A bildungsroman, a demented comedy, a wild romantic fling - The Deadman's Pedal is another thrillingly imagined adventure from the inimitable Alan Warner.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Simon Crimmons is a 15 year old going on 16 who drifts into a job on a rural railway line in the 70s. This might not sound like a great plot, especially for a female reader, but Warner is one of my favourite writers. From novel to novel, Alan Warner has absolutely cemented his position as one of the most delightful and fascinating contemporary novelists. The Deadman's Pedal crowns it all. Deadman's Pedal is a novel that elbows aside the small-minded ambition of other recent novels and does it with humour, compassion and beauty.

Finishing this novel leaves something inside you, something generous and transforming. Warner has brought into existence his own world. Simon is his latest character, bright, alive, sensitive but far more grounded in the everyday than some of the early, wilder novels like The Man Who Walks or These Demented Lands. Warner sets the novel in the 70s but as always there is something timeless and immovable about the worlds he describes - something mythical and profound. The novel follows about a year in Simon's life, like life itself, you are not aware of Simon changing but slowly life is doing its work on him - the delicate confusions of young, unsure love are captured here as Simon gets pulled in to liasons with two - even three young women - but he is not just some shallow lothario - just a young bloke wrong footed and surprised by life around him. The novel contains unforgetable moments, from huge dazzling set pieces to delicate little descriptions. There is no point recounting the plot. Just read the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Warner returns to the Port, the fictionalised version of Oban which was the setting for his earlier novels Morvern Callar and The Sopranos in this wonderful book. He has spooled the clock back four decades to the early 1970s and given us a male narrator: 15 year old Simon Crimmonds. His family relatively affluent; his father is a Yorkshireman running a fleet of 10 red and cream liveried haulage lorries, he has a small brother Jeff and his mother endlessly tends the grounds of their large modernised house in the village of Tulloch just outside the Port. Tulloch Villa is 'a large, two-storey, Victorian dwelling with hardly a whisper of Gothic' on the shores of the sea loch.

Simon finds first love and sex with 'little ray of golden sun' Nikki Caine, escaping together on his 50cc Yamaha motorbike, 'wenching' where they can, be it dark lanes or the back green behind her council house, outside the tiny bedroom she shares with her older sister Karen.

Simon is not sure what he wants from his life, but it isn't the life his father - who left school without qualifications - has planned for him. Idly wandering into the Labour Exchange one day he ends up applying for what he thinks is a job at the hospital where Karen is a nurse, but turns out to be a trainee railwayman working with the new diesel engines in direct competition with his father. Despite his best efforts he gets the job and is pitched into a world of older men, men with bodies shattered by decades of hard manual work, hands immune to pain from endless hours shovelling coal as firemen for the steam trains they served on.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well this was worth waiting for.SPOILER ALERT.

I have read all of Alan Warner's books and was anticipating this as a treat.The sections of work related nicknames and camaraderie are as accurate and entertaining as any I've read.This is the way people talk! 'Deadman's pedal' hinges on an inability to press it.That's life.
One of the previous reviews focussed on 'contrasts'.In amongst the tale and it's enthralling portrayals of what may well be Oban and an incisive rememberance of the early 1970's I would add these;
the contrast between the NUR and ASLEF,Jaguars and a remarkably resilient 50cc motorbike, the ridiculously exaggerated spins on 'flooding' and 'submerging' of real and hardly believable buildings and flesh( back to 'these demented lands'),the two sisters innocent and worldly,the job interviews of two lads again innocent and worldly, the brother and sister(Withnail revisited in Alex........ nailed),a record collection including a Pink Floyd release involving the need to switch countries yet also Stackridge, class and the military reverberating in the two father's roles,swinging out on the rope on the big rock and then uncoupling the train, even at the end of the book the contrast between two types of council flat.True that.
Finally I was overwhelmed by two very powerful lasting images.
The scene of 'digging out the medals' was a flight of imagination that I am still reeling from, the father's final word is 'Clown'.
Most of all a final few pages that genuinely left you feeling 'what next'.15/16 years old! I can almost imagine the screen going dark and leaving the cinema buzzing. Cliffhanger. A completely convincing book. Thank you.
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Format: Hardcover
this book takes a while to take off and meanders for some time until it gets to the core of the book, the relationship between the emergent, contradictory, self-possessed Simon Crimmons and the wildly magnetic older Varie. the descriptions of life on the railways in the 1970s are a miniature masterpiece in itself, so visceral and immediate - and very funny.
like any novel that will endure, this is a book of many different rooms which allow the reader to wander through several times. it is a very memorable achievement.
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