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Wreckage by [Griffiths, Niall]
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Wreckage Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 304 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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Product description

Review

"[Wreckage] Is A Really Remarkable Piece Of Work. In The Foreground Is A Caper Story; In The Background, A Poetically Expressed, Apocalyptic History Of Liverpool."

Book Description

'It is arresting, and it is terrifying, and it is thoroughly accomplished' - Sam Leith, Daily Telegraph

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 739 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (30 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041OT9E4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #250,398 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
although the subject matter could be seen as just grim and grinding, it is actually glorious, intelligent while not at all pompous.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've only read one other book by Niall Griffiths - Runt - which I thought was a great read, reminiscent of Riddley Walker.

This one reads like an also-ran when put up against comparable works by the likes of Irvine Welsh. The main story concerns the hapless exploits of two scouse scallies after a post office robbery in Wales that goes disastrously wrong.

Upon return to Liverpool the respective plots of the two principal characters become enmeshed with those of various others as the novel heads towards a violent climax which, by the time you reach it, the reader is more than glad that the whole sordid affair is finally over. Not because of the nature of the events but because of the way in which they're told. The writing is simplistic at times and at others just plain dull. For example, when the two "gangsters" take a train from Wrexham station they "ascend the stairs to traverse the footbridge to the far platform." That just reads like a police witness statement.

In all, there is just not enough good writing to keep one interested and, despite valiant attempts to develop the various characters with the aid of historical flashbacks etc, ultimately I was glad to see the back of each and every one of them.
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Format: Paperback
This condensed slice of life criss-crosses Wales and Liverpool as it follows the hopeless protagonists whilst also switching perspective to other characters and perspectives to create a full experience. At first it gives the appearance of a crime caper, but soon it becomes clear that the focus is lives and locations: people and places and the way they shape each other. However, the crime committed does drive every action, the fruits of the crime a cursed chalice that brings bad luck to each possessor.

The scale of the dangers the protagonists face is both sinister and consciously bathetic. While the novel includes its fair share of sliced and burnt faces, disfigured with knives or irons or boots or hammers, the fundamental golden object being chased and causing all this wreckage is not some huge figure as in many crime capers. Instead, after hearing:

"F%^&&* rich, Ally! F%^&&* brewstered, lar! ... Pure f%^&&* rich we are, lad! Pure f%^&&* loaded, man!"

we find out it is a pathetic £4,000. That life can be so cheap and characters have so little imagination does a huge amount to make concrete the reality of their existences.

I have heard some people say that Niall's books can be difficult and depressing due to the colloquial dialects and desperate subject matter. However, reading them breaks down that perception. Taking this novel as an example, you don't have to look far for humour, poetry, and great turns of phrase that make me jealous that I didn't come up with them first, such as "Litterfruited bushes" (p56).
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Format: Paperback
Niall Griffiths is one of those writers that makes my fingers tremble with excitement when I pick up one of his books. Wreckage picks up where previous novel Stump left off: Darren and Alastair, two tracksuited malcontents from Liverpool, have just robbed a post office in Cilcain, North Wales. Strangers to wealth of any kind, they quickly return to their hometown with a rucksack stuffed with cash, but all is not well... Alastair, loath though he is to admit it to the unpredictable and extremely dangerous Darren, is overcome with disgust at the nature of their crime and quietly plots his revenge. Unfortunately, Alastair lacks the foresight to ensure the smooth execution of his plan, and from there on things go from bad to worse for the pair of hapless Scousers.

Wreckage is a powerful, poetic and gripping piece of writing about the devastation and damage that violence causes at all levels. It portrays those responsible for this damage as both pitiless and unflinching; the tragic victims as just that. Stylistically, Griffiths' writing alternates between Irvine Welsh-esque, expletive-ridden dialogue, and character-driven internal monologues that betray the unhinged minds behind such behaviour. There are also lengthy passages of rich, descriptive language detailing the geographical and historical context of the story. Griffiths', a Liverpudlian now living in Wales, displays an astonishing grasp of the language, history and socio-economic background of this particular part of the United Kingdom.

Wreckage may make for bleak reading at times, but this is a culturally significant novel that one cannot help but be moved, amused, and - on occasion - awe-struck by and I would recommend it to all fans of so-called 'transgressive' fiction (see: Irvine Welsh, Chuck Palahniuk et al).

Matt Pucci
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