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the Complete Review
the complete review - poetry

Suicide Bridge

Iain Sinclair

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To purchase Suicide Bridge

Title: Suicide Bridge
Author: Iain Sinclair
Genre: Poetry
Written: 1979
Length: 154 pages
Availability: In Lud Heat - US
. In Lud Heat - UK
. In Lud Heat - Canada
  • A Book of the Furies - A Mythology of the South & East - Autumn 1973 to Spring 1978
  • Published in one volume with Lud Heat (see our review)

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Our Assessment:

B : a broader reach than the usual, interesting

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Suicide Bridge is described in the companion volume to this collection, Lud Heat, as the place "where the Krays offered their weapons to the water after the mutilation and death of Jack the Hat." Decades later Sinclair will revisit the murder, with his character Norton, in Slow Chocolate Autopsy. Sinclair's literary landscape becomes familiar over the years, claustrophobically limited to London's confines, and his same cast of characters peers at the reader from the shadowy fringe. Suicide Bridge offers a pleasant surprise in not focussing so completely on his chosen locale and in creating new characters, even if they only be composites or representations of the usual suspects. And Sinclair is a man of words, and often enough the words suffice to transport the reader.
       Suicide Bridge is a challenge, like all his books. The dedication leaves no doubt: "offered to THE ENEMY." Sinclair does not mean to be welcoming. Much of his writing is myth and elaboration of myth, but one of the first statements in this book is: "Myths are lies."
       Myths and biography are explored in the poems here, in the stories of the dark, violent Hand & Hyle, rich and doomed City man Kotope, Skofeld, Coban. All figures for Sinclair's city-myths, he effectively uses and combines their stories in his poems. Brief narrative and essayistic efforts are also interspersed between them -- "a note on Howard Hughes," for example.
       Director Nicolas Roeg's films are invoked to set the atmosphere: Performance, Don't Look Now, The Man who fell to Earth. And Sinclair shows he had a fine ear for talent, quoting both Michael Ondaatje (The Collected Works of Billy the Kid) and Stephen Hawking. Popular -- indeed, pop figures now, Sinclair's Ondaatje quote is from when his book was published in relative obscurity by the Anansi Press, and that from Hawking from a 1973 textbook that found little public resonance.
       Victimhood and the dark side are explored here, but the varied and different tales make for one of Sinclair's more approachable and interesting experiments. As usual, he can hardly be recommended to one and all, but this is an interesting, worthwhile book.

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Suicide Bridge: Iain Sinclair: Other books by Iain Sinclair under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Poetry under review

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About the Author:

       London author Iain Sinclair has written several collections of poetry, as well as a number of novels and documentary works.

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