Today at Shiny New Books, I have a pair of posts for you.
Nicholas Royle (the one who is/was a professor at Sussex University, not the Manchester one), has just had a new non-fiction book published. A series of essays, lectures, ‘memoirish’ narrative non-fiction, conceived as a valedictory speech after being offered voluntary severance from his university during lockdown, David Bowie, Enid Blyton and the sun machine is full of thought-provoking juxtapositions, literary intertextual references, and family experiences. As Royle obsessively listened to Bowie during lockdown, and read Blyton to his sons, he discovered fascinating ways to link the two, and he re-explored a long-forgotten family connection to Blyton that will make you gasp! It’s an idiosyncratic book that’s complex, that has a strong sense of place, yet it is playful and full of music.
If you read his previous books, the novel, An English Guide to Birdwatching (in that book’s second half in particular) or Mother: A Memoir, you’ll already have a feel for his style. If you enjoyed cult non-fiction book All the Devils are Here by David Seabrook which does for Margate what Royle does for Croydon, you’d enjoy Royle’s latest. If, like me, you miss David Bowie still, and grew up reading Blyton, it’s also a book for you.
I was lucky enough to do an extended Q&A with Nicholas too, in which he expands wonderfully on some of the things I picked out.
Read my review of David Bowie, Enid Blyton and the sun machine HERE
Read my Q&A with Nicholas Royle about the book HERE.
Source: Review copy – thank you! Nicholas Royle, David Bowie, Enid Blyton and the sun machine, (Manchester University Press, 2023). 978-1526173638, 256pp., paperback.
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