Read Happy Like Murderers by Gordon Burn Free Online
Book Title: Happy Like Murderers|
The author of the book: Gordon Burn
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 689 KB
Edition: Faber & Faber
Date of issue: February 1st 1999
ISBN 13: 9780571197576
Read full description of the books:Context from Wiki :
Between 1967 and 1987, he alone, and later, he and his wife Rosemary tortured, raped and murdered at least 11 young women and girls, many at the couple's homes 25 Midland Road and later 25 Cromwell Street. Rosemary West also murdered Fred's stepdaughter (his first wife's biological daughter) Charmaine, while he was serving a prison sentence for theft. The majority of the murders occurred between May 1973 and August 1979 at their home in 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester.
Here’s one for you – what’s the connection between Fred West and the Booker Prize? Answer: one of the 11 females he killed was Martin Amis’s cousin.
Gordon Burn was a fine intelligent writer (Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son, Alma Cogan) and this book, the awful story of Fred and Rose West, is a big one that I never got round to at the time. There are the true crime penny-dreadfuls (Body Dump, Whatever Mother Wants) and there is the solid dependable journalism (The Case of Mary Bell, Columbine) and there are the personalised accounts by the briefs involved (Helter Skelter, Defending Gary.) And then there are those true crime books which rise above the mere marshalling of detail and aspire towards the epic and become by authorial alchemy some kind of literature (The Executioner's Song, In Cold Blood). Happy Like Murderers is of the latter type.
It reads like a 500 page oral history. Like 500 voices woven together into a seamless demotic fractured multitextured whispering mumbling muttering onrushing torrent. I'll give you an example.
And the rest of Ronnie Cooper’s men would go drinking together regularly but Fred never wanted to go. He wouldn’t mix with anybody. Good worker, mind. Brilliant worker. He became known for moving large sheets of metal manually rather than wait for the crane to move them. He was very strong and wouldn’t wait because he was on piecework. Always at work. He’d work all the hours God sends. But he wouldn’t mix. He wouldn’t drink. He never drank. He wouldn’t go to a pub at all and always said he was too busy if they asked. Said he had too much to do.
It’s like a river running on and on. When required, Burn lays out half a paragraph of your more usual, more formal sentences, but then he’s back to the babbling bubbling whispering gossipy voices which are -evidently – mirroring the voices he interviewed for his massive book. It works, it all works, and down into the whirlpool you go.
Books like this are like sociology without the bollocks, without the jargon and the tendentious theories, without the graphs. They shine lights of horror on aspects of society we generally leave to the most hapless social services. Incest families. Throwaway children. Disappearing teenagers.
Once again, a brilliant book, but I'm not recommending it to anyone.
Read information about the authorGordon Burn was an English writer born in Newcastle upon Tyne and the author of four novels and several works of non-fiction.
Burn's novels deal with issues of modern fame and faded celebrity, as well as life through a media lens. His novel Alma Cogan (1991), which imagined the future life of the British singer Alma Cogan had she not died in the 1960s, won the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel. His other novels Fullalove and The North of England Home Service appeared in 1995 and 2003 respectively. His non-fiction deals primarily with sport and true crime. His first book Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son was a study of Peter Sutcliffe, 'the Yorkshire Ripper' and his 1998 book Happy Like Murderers: The Story of Fred and Rosemary West, dealt in similar detail with one of Britain's most notorious serial killers.
Burn's interest in such infamous villains extended to his fiction, with Myra Hindley, one of the 'Moors murderers', featuring prominently in the novel Alma Cogan. His sport-based books are Pocket Money: Inside the World of Snooker (1986) and Best and Edwards: Football, Fame and Oblivion (2006), which deals with the twin stories of Manchester United footballers Duncan Edwards and George Best and the "trajectory of two careers unmoored in wildly different ways."
He also wrote a book with British artist Damien Hirst, On the Way to Work, a collection of interviews from various dates between 1992-2001. He contributed to The Guardian regularly, usually writing about contemporary art.
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