Martyn Bedford

All Mixed Up

The Ballad of Lee Cotton

By

Little, Brown 320pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

This is one of those novels which is almost impossible to review without revealing at least some key elements of the plot. So, if you don’t want to know what happens, look away now. But, before you leave us, make sure you lay your hands on a copy of The Ballad of Lee Cotton. You’re unlikely to read a more effervescent, more uplifting, more original novel this year. Right, let’s get on with spoiling the story for you. Here it is, in a nutshell, in the hero’s own words: ‘I grew up a white black boy. Now I’m turning into a black white woman.’ In telling you the ‘what’ – the pitch, in Hollywood-speak – I’ll take care not to divulge too much of the ‘how’ and the ‘why’, because this is where the joy of Christopher Wilson’s novel resides, and where he marries ingenious premise to dazzling execution. And, of course, I wouldn’t dream of giving away the ending.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,