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London, Burning

'Richly pleasurable' Observer

Anthony Quinn



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Little Brown
13 April 2021
London, Burning is a novel about the end of the 1970s, and the end of an era. It concerns a nation divided against itself, a government trembling on the verge of collapse, a city fearful of what is to come, and a people bitterly suspicious of one another. In other words, it is also a novel about now.

Vicky Tress is a young policewoman on the rise who becomes involved in a corruption imbroglio with CID. Hannah Strode is an ambitious young reporter with a speciality for skewering the rich and powerful. Callum Conlan is a struggling Irish academic and writer who falls in with the wrong people. Whilst Freddie Selves is a hugely successful theatre impresario stuck deep in a personal and political mire of his own making. These four characters, strangers at the start, happen to meet and affect the course of each other's lives profoundly.

The story plots an unpredictable path through a city choked by strikes and cowed by bomb warnings. It reverberates to the sound of alarm and protest, of police sirens, punk rock, street demos, of breaking glass and breaking hearts in dusty pubs. As the clock ticks down towards a general election old alliances totter and the new broom of capitalist enterprise threatens to sweep all before it. It is funny and dark, violent but also moving.
By:   Anthony Quinn
Imprint:   Little Brown
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 154mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   421g
ISBN:   9781408713198
ISBN 10:   1408713195
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   13 April 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Anthony Quinn was born in Liverpool in 1964. From 1998 to 2013 he was the film critic for the Independent. His novels include The Rescue Man, which won the 2009 Authors' Club Best First Novel Award; Half of the Human Race; The Streets, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Walter Scott Prize; Curtain Call, which was chosen for Waterstones and Mail on Sunday Book Clubs; Freya, a Radio 2 Book Club choice, and Eureka.

Reviews for London, Burning: 'Richly pleasurable' Observer

[A] marvellous new novel . . . This master storyteller recreates the whole world of the 70s, as the London we used to know is about to change for ever. The novel throbs with music and life, love and skulduggery, with the beating drum of the approaching Margaret Thatcher sounding the knell for that decade and the way we used to live on these islands -- Carmen Callil * i newapaper * Set during the dog days of the Callaghan Labour government, Anthony Quinn's latest period novel extends his richly pleasurable and loosely connected series portraying London down the decades. Since 2011, he has fused romance, mystery and social realism to produce a kind of epic Londoniad, tackling the city's Victorian slums (The Streets), the first world war (Half of the Human Race), the 30s (Curtain Call), the blitz (Our Friends in Berlin), the 50s and 60s (Freya and Eureka), and now the late 70s, a time of strikes, IRA violence and the imminent election of Margaret Thatcher. It's David Peace territory, but Quinn is a steadier, suaver writer, relying on the old-school charms of rounded characters and a clockwork plot -- Anthony Cummins * Observer * Anthony Quinn is one of my favourite novelists and London, Burning didn't disappoint ... Set in the grimy, unglamorous world of the winter of 1979, when most public workers were on strike and the IRA were at large, London, Burning deftly weaves together the stories of Vicky, a young police officer, Hannah, a journalist, Callum, an academic and Freddie a bon viveur and theatre director, whose lives connect and coincide with dramatic consequences -- Sarra Manning * Red * A multi-character tale of a paranoid, dirty London at the tired end of the seventies -- Francesca Carington * Telegraph * If you like BBC political dramas, you'll love this tale set in 1970s London, in a time of strikes and bomb threats. It weaves together stories of a theatre impresario, a policewoman, a journalist and a writer as their lives are profoundly affected by their relationships with one another -- Joanne Finney * Good Housekeeping * Anthony Quinn's excellent seventh novel . . . highly enjoyable -- Sarah Emma Adams * The Tablet * Quinn is a witty and erudite writer who manages to make his characters' dialogue sound natural and engaging . . . Quinn's book is a page-turning delight. I can pay it no higher compliment than to say that, when I finished reading it, I felt almost sad that I was not going to be spending time with its characters any longer, and I hope that a sequel or continuation of this fascinating saga awaits in due course -- Alex Larman * The Critic * Peopled by the kind of strong, fully realised individuals whom you could easily identify in a crowd, it is skilfully plotted and written with a rare elegance, sinuous wit and even optimism. It is a deeply satisfactory read -- Sue Gaisford * Financial Times *

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