Beastings by Benjamin Myers – austere and brilliantly shocking
Benjamin Myers was the winner of the 2013 Northern Writers’ award, though it is worth noting that he only became a “northern writer” by default. Born in Durham, Myers headed south to spend 15 years as a music journalist, writing a novel about the Manic Street Preachers’ Richey Edwards and co-founding a punk literary movement, Brutalism, when mainstream publishers wouldn’t touch him.
Having moved to rural Yorkshire and struck up a relationship with the independent publishers Bluemoose, however, Myers seems to have reconnected with his natural voice. In 2012 he produced Pig Iron, a startlingly violent account of a young traveller on a Wearside estate, which was runner-up in the Guardian’s Not the Booker prize and won the inaugural Gordon Burn prize. The follow-up turns out to be even more uncompromising, as Myers fashions a climax so gruesome it leaves you feeling a little light-headed.
Read the full review here…