The return of our Book of the Month this November is a real bumper edition, as the second of our selections is really three books in one. The Seal Club brings together novellas from Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh and John King in a reflection of their ongoing interest and concerns. The Seal Club is a maverick collection, full of pubs and politics, secrets and lies.
In Warner’s Those Darker Sayings, a gang of Glaswegian nerds ride the mainline trains of northern England in service of their cynical and frustrated leader Slorach’s quiz-machine habit. Meanwhile, Welsh’s The Providers sees Frank (Begbie, we presume – there are hints that the novella features a character from Trainspotting) newly out of prison and attending his terminally ill mother’s final Christmas alongside his alcoholic brother Joe, who is dissolving before the family’s eyes. Finally, John King’s The Beasts of Brussels pits thirty thousand British football fans against a media in overdrive in the Belgian capital, with chaotic effects.
The Seal Club roils with mischief and a sense of anarchy, building on the three authors’ 25-year histories of kicking against the quiet and the comfortable. To celebrate the launch and help break up the lockdown drudgery, Warner, Welsh and King will be speaking at the online iteration of the Essex Book Festival on 11th November. That’ll be here.
We have it on good authority that The Seal Club is ‘maverick, free-thinking fiction for the 2020s’. We could all do with a bit of that this month.
The Seal Club by Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh & John King is out 12th November from London Books
(9780995721760, p/b, £9.99)
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