Landor's Tower by Iain Sinclair - review by Martyn Bedford

Martyn Bedford

Up to the Oxters

Landor's Tower


Granta Books 368pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

Some novels are hard to review, some are easy. Some are so difficult you don’t know where to begin…but, then, a gift: the author saves you the trouble by more or less reviewing the book for you. So here’s how Iain Sinclair (via one of the peripheral characters, to his narrator) sums up Landor’s Tower:

Your books, man, no fucker can tell them apart […] Don’t you have any imagination? Every novel starts with a stalled car, a squabble of bookdealers […] What’s with this three–part structure? One: lowlifes running around, getting nowhere. Two: a baggy central section investigating ‘place’, faking at poetry, genre tricks, and a spurious narrative which proves incapable of resolution. Three: quelle surprise. A walk in the wilderness. What a cop–out, man! Your women are a joke and you can’t do working–class […] You rely on portentous hints, bits and pieces stolen from better writers. The ethics are shit…an elitist programme, man. You’ve become part of the accepted apparatus of disapproval, the so–called — lily–livered, sponsored by Beck’s — counterculture.

Then this, from the narrator (Sinclair?):

He was right. It was coming apart. I thought I was tracing a palimpsest of David Jones, the Mabinogion and classic Welsh mythology, and found myself, up to the oxters, in Mickey Spillane.

There, a third of the article written. Trouble is, this is a brutally

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

OUP Niven

Follow Literary Review on Twitter