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Warehouse Operative
A lot of it seems to be more or less contextless description. You're presented with something, it's described in this very clipped, visceral style and that's about it. Someone appears somewhere with no explanation, he says a bunch of vague, cool-sounding things about it then you're onto the next thing.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it's just irritating.
 

catalog

Well-known member
Were Sinclair and Alan Moore in contact at this time? Seems too much of a coincidence they'd both be publishing occulted takes on The Ripper in the late 80s.
I've read interviews with both of them where they explain the connection. Can't quite remember for certain, but I think it was a bit back and forth, in that sinclair was interested in the Hawksmoor churches cos he was tending the cemeteries and Moore was doing years and years of research on the ripper stuff.

I feel like there was someone who perhaps brought them together, but can't think who at the moment. Maybe Chris petit, but I don't think so.

Have to say, I don't have a clue what's going on at times and get a bit fed up with what feels like pages and pages of formless description, but the ideas are good and there are some nice lines.

Difficult to get a handle on who's who and the overall structure of the thing; think there are three stories going on at once? The weird book dealers, the flashback stuff with the bloke writing the letters and "Sinclair" and Joblard? Can't work out whether "the narrator" is also supposed to be Sinclair, is just some nameless narrator or if that's just what he's called and he isn't narrating at all.

Yeah I find sinclairs early stuff a bit irritating for same reason. Takes a while to get into the rhythm of things and then you're often not sure what's going on. Clearly what he's aiming for and it does work at times, but I prefer the more coherent stuff.
 

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Warehouse Operative
I don't think Sinclair can write at all. He's not capable of constructing a sentence beyond one or two clauses composed mostly of adjectives: when he does it his prose loses any power and distinction it might have. The same goes for the overall architecture of his books - there isn't one - there's just the rubble of his own ranting nerdy obsessions (eg Jack the Ripper. Need I say more?). And I see he has once again wheeled out the tiredest of postmodernist tropes - a book about someone writing a book - in his latest novel, How many times has he done that now? He thinks he is a satirist but his books have no ethical weight. Its all sub-sub-sub Burroughs laced with some incredibly dubious politics (check Downriver's description of Banglatown for example).

I agree with this from earlier in the thread, although I don't hate the book either. Something keeps me reading and I'm enjoying bits and pieces, but yeah, seems bang on to me.

k-punk's comments are on point too,

I want to like Sinclair, but I can't, except in patches. His description of Bluewater in London Orbital, for instance, is wonderful.

But, in general, his writing is not only obscure, it is obscurantist - deliberately making an equivalence between 'poetic' and 'difficult'. For me, the most poetic writing is always the most lucid, and if I have to try hard to read something - whether it be theory or literature - I want some reward. With Sinclair, I just feel frustrated and bored - out of the know. You can rarely settle into the writing; you're always being ushered off to the next unexplained allusion, always left with the impression that there must be something more here than you are ever seeing. I like the connections he makes (but the people he links together - Moorcock, Ballard, Ackroyd, even Alan fucking Moore - are infinitely better writers than him, precisely because they retain a pulp narrative engine), I like the walking methodology, I like the idea of it: but the writing itself always disappoints.

Heronbone is much better, I really mean that.
 

catalog

Well-known member
I would give orbital a go if you can be arsed. I can't, myself, but I would like to know if it is still any good. Seminal book for me that one.
 

version

Warehouse Operative
I think I'll give Lights Out for the Territory a go after this one and if I don't get along with that then I'll knock him on the head.
 

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Warehouse Operative
Thought White Chappell . . . was decent by the end, although I still agree with the criticisms above and only have a vague impression of what actually happened.
 
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