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the Complete Review
the complete review - poetry

Lud Heat

Iain Sinclair

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To purchase Lud Heat

Title: Lud Heat
Author: Iain Sinclair
Genre: Poetry
Written: 1975
Length: 141 pages
Availability: Lud Heat - US
. Lud Heat - UK
. Lud Heat - Canada
  • A Book of Dead Hamlets - May 1974 to April 1975
  • Published in one volume with Suicide Bridge (see our review)
  • Introduction by Michael Moorcock (1995)
  • Maps by David McKean (1995)
  • Lud Heat has been published by:
    • Albion Village Press (1st ed., 1975)
    • The Lewis Graham Press (2nd ed., 1986)
    • Goldmark (3rd ed., 1987)
    • Vintage (Random House, 4th ed., 1995)
    • Granta (5th ed., 1998)

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Our Assessment:

B- : an interesting, varied experiment

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian . 19/11/1995 Tobias Hill

  From the Reviews:
  • "London is not just Sinclair's subject; it is his religion. His writing is like a bizarre cross between Betjeman and William Burroughs." - Tobias Hill, The Guardian

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Sinclair's early work, Lud Heat, does not necessarily prefigure the later, better known writings. Sinclair's subject is always London, and Lud Heat is another facet, another take on his obsession with the city and its myths. A mixture of poetry and narrative, moving easily between fact and fiction, autobiography and verse, hieroglyphics and maps, it can serve, in many respects, as a broad introduction to Sinclair's areas of interest.
       The first section is on church architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, his structures a foundation and marker for Sinclair's city. (It is an obsession shared by Peter Ackroyd, who wrote his own novel on the man.) The possibilities that can be read into the geography of the structures are here analyzed in depth for the first time, though it is a subject Sinclair returns to again and again.
       The second part is an unlikely journal of a public assistant gardener -- a position Sinclair held for a time being. Later there is a piece about a Stan Brakhage film. The title of Sinclair's essay: Rites of Autopsy. Autopsy, "meaning 'the act of seeing with one's own eyes.' " Defining what Sinclair so often does in his writing, exposing, revealing, seeing what others are blind to (or turn a blind eye to).
       The Ancient Egyptians are connected to the subjects, and a classical tradition informs at least aspects of the text. The poetry, interspersed between the other pieces, makes for an interesting change of pace, its rhythm so different from the prose.
       Lud Heat is an interesting text. Less a cohesive whole than the later novels, Sinclair manages to be more succinct and explicit in these pieces. There are many fascinating titbits here (which can often be glimpsed, subsumed, in the later work).
       Hesitantly recommended -- it is interesting , but certainly will not be to everyone's taste.

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Lud Heat: 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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