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And now for something completely different...
on 8 April 2015
4.5 out of 5 stars
I know nothing about and have zero interest in football, and the culture of football hooliganism fascinates me only in a horrified sort of way, but having recently read Mark Barry's fabulous Once Upon A Time In The City of Criminals I wanted to know more, so chose to read this, his most successful book to date.
Something I've noticed after reading a book that's really worked for me is that I can't always remember if it was written in the first or third person, so alive were the characters. Ultra Violence, however, has set a new standard. It's written in the SECOND person, yet I still felt I knew the unnamed main character as well as if he'd told the story himself, or if I'd had it narrated to me. Yes, that's right, a whole novel written in the second person, and it works a hundred per cent. How clever to have seen that this was exactly the way to write this; yet another indication of the talent of Mr Barry, who is fast becoming my favourite 'indie' of all those I've read.
Ultra Violence is depressing, it's sad, it made me feel fed up about how different things were in my own youth, it tells of the unsavoury, the prejudiced, the lacking in culture, the unwashed underclass of society (the Bullys!)and those who've wrecked their own lives, but I couldn't put it down. The story alternates between the past and the present all the way through, until they meet at the end, a structure I always find effective. Fabulous ending, too. I love a great ending. I gather in the new edition there are two endings, alternatives, but, alas, I had the old one on my Kindle.
Oh, and I still think the main character is a closet homosexual, by the way. So closet he couldn't admit it to himself, perhaps. Don't know if anyone else agrees with me. From about fifty per cent in I was waiting for the Big Reveal....