"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Ultra Violence Paperback Launch

I'm so excited. Look further down the page and you'll see Wendy's glee at holding her first paperback in her hands. I'm hoping to get mine this week.

American readers can buy it now for ten dollars, but UK readers will have to wait till early next week. I'll link you in everywhere.

It's an unusual book. If you're used to the work of Cass Pennant or Martin King, or the Brimson brothers, then this is different. It comes at the issue from a completely different angle.

Yes, its a book with a football ground on the front and a rough looking fellow. Yes, it's about football hooligans.

But its not a violent book.

It's Notts County. Notts didn't have enough hooligans to cause major violence, so the title, as my son keeps telling me, is ironic. Police intelligence used to describe them as nuisances. That's about as far as it got down at Meadow Lane, but there were hooligans, as there were/are in every club in the Islands. This is their story.

Ultra Violence is a fictional book about a middle aged, middle class, middle manager who is undergoing a nervous breakdown page by page.

His marriage is failing. His son is a rapping, baseball-capped arse. His boss is a shoulder padded career monster. He has no friends. Throughout the book, he reminisces with an old pal about fun times at Meadow Lane and around the country: Better days as a young football hooligan.

Then, as his life begins to unravel, the twin narratives begin to merge in a climax.

It's written in second person omniescent. Click on the UV book cover and read the first page free. That will tell you what 2PO is if you're not sure.

The idea for that is to get some ironic distance between the narrator and the events he recounts. I am not the narrator, nor Beanie, his friend, though I am a character in the book.

Not a very nice one either.

My brother thinks I am harsh on myself, but if you look at the 46 other books on the Amazon website which deal with hooliganism, you will see why.

Thankfully, I haven't had a single bad review of this book from men. It is a man's book, I'll admit: (the next book out in PB, Carla, is much more female friendly), but it isn't just for ex-hooligans.

There is a story. There is a beginning, a middle and an end. There is a message and for anyone who has ever visited Nottingham, there are many, many landmarks. There is a funny passage toward the end that everyone likes about an oldies night out in places like the Cross Keys and the Ha Ha bar; though, sadly, I'm told that has now changed again.

The final three chapters are my best ever writing - I can still can't top what I did there, though I try on a daily basis. If you don't like the last three chapters, you probably won't like anything else I've written.

It's 60,000 words long and will keep you busy on the plane, by the pool, on the train. There is a surprising scene with a famous TV celebrity. There is arch commentary on the changing world. There are surreal memories. There are jokes.

Better, though names are changed, Notts fans will know many of the characters.  Non Notts fans will also know many of the characters from their own clubs.  If anyone was at Hartlepool in 1988 or Luton at home in 1993, then it will bring back memories. I'm not sure Man City fans or Hartlepool supporters will like the book - I don't like Man City in the slightest and I make that clear - but fans of every other club could get something from it. 

I managed to keep the PB to £7.99. It will be the cheapest of my books. Hollywood is going to be a fortune. I am dreading pricing this one, which, Kelly and Seth will be pleased to hear, is the next to undergo the Paperback treatment. I'll explain why on Monday.

I do hope you'll buy it. It's worth reading and if it does sell, there's an even better sequel planned.

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