For many, Alan Moore’s Jerusalem is already the publishing story of the year. Begun in 2008, Moore’s magnum opus has long been speculated on by both his fans and the literati, many of whom have been following the story of the book for years. Published by Knockabout, there’s no doubt Jerusalem will cause a stir when it finally hits bookshops this September.
The book tells the fantastical story of Moore’s hometown, Northampton, where he still lives today. Its dizzying cast of characters are the down-and-out residents who inhabit “half a square mile of decay and demolition.” They include the living and the dead, real characters – such as Oliver Cromwell and Buffalo Bill – and imagined. Northampton itself is a protagonist, from its creation as England’s Saxon capital through to Moore’s reimagined slum-town. It’s a history of class war, wealth and poverty as much as it is a history of the town itself, and it is monumental in scope – at over 600,000 words long, Jerusalem is amongst the top ten largest novels in the English language. It’s just as ambitious in form; Moore uses a kaleidoscope of literary genres, from social realism to children’s fantasy, from science-fiction to drama. It includes a poem and a modern play. This mixing of forms has already prompted Publishers Weekly to name Moore “one of the great masters of the English language”, and iconic comics writer Neil Gaiman to name him a “master story teller.”
Alan Moore himself is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers in the history of comics. His works include From Hell, V for Vendetta and Watchmen, which has sold more than two million copies worldwide. He is creator of the popular League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. His first novel, Voice of the Fire, was published by Top Shelf Productions in 1996. With his wife, the artist Melinda Gebbie, he created the controversial comic Lost Girls. His visionary works have garnered him an immense fanbase across the globe, with many dedicated websites and forums.
Moore was one of the first comics writers to achieve mainstream recognition, and has been interviewed and profiled in major news sources, from The Guardian to The Telegraph to The Believer, which shows just how enormous the readership potential for Jerusalem is. He further reached mainstream readers recently with reports he has included a piece of fanmail from nine-year Joshua Chamberlain old in place of a blurb. There’s plenty of hype for Jerusalem already, though few people have actually read it yet.
Of course, Moore’s diehard fans will likely read all 1250 pages of Jerusalem as soon as it hits bookshops on the 15th, and, with the current buzz surrounding its publication, we can expect anyone else with an interest in books and publishing to be close behind.
Jerusalem is published on 13 September by Knockabout Comics
Hardback Edition: £25, 1250 pages, 9780861662524
Slipcase Paperback Edition: £25, 1250 pages 9780861662548
Browse other titles by Alan Moore here