Your Show by Ashley Hickson-Lovence - review by Joseph Owen

Joseph Owen

Whistle While You Work

Your Show

By

Faber & Faber 320pp £14.99 order from our bookshop
 

Your Show is a percussive, breathless novel about the life of Uriah Rennie, the first and so far only black referee to officiate in the English Premier League. The reader is plunged into a fictional internal monologue: it describes Rennie’s upbringing in Jamaica, his parachute fall into Sheffield and his role as ‘judge, jury and bloody executioner’ in countless professional football matches. Ashley Hickson-Lovence’s insistent second-person, present-tense narration – ‘You swivel, you spin, you sprint, you swagger, you strut’ – establishes Rennie as both ‘performer’ on stage and ‘director’ of actors. His ‘show’ is brandishing yellow cards and interpreting the laws of the game.

The author, a former semi-professional referee, depicts his ‘man in black’ as guileless and self-deluded, even though the book has been written with Rennie’s cooperation (in the acknowledgements, Hickson-Lovence thanks him ‘for allowing me to tell this particular version of his life story’). Rennie’s interior consciousness is rendered largely

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