Dining on Stones or, The Middle Ground by Iain Sinclair - review by Tristan Quinn

Tristan Quinn

Writer Off His Block

Dining on Stones or, The Middle Ground

By

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IAIN SINCLAIR'S WORK generally proceeds by digression, repetition and gradual accumulation. In his latest novel - telling the story of Norton, a once mildly successful, now faded writer who moves from Hackney to Hastings in a desperate search for inspiration and 'new territory' - Sinclair feels compelled to reprise favourite riffs fiom his earlier books. The Whitechapel murders, the mysterious disappearance of David Rodinsky fiom the Princelet Street synagogue in the East End, and the secret significance of the M25 all make a reappearance. The frequency with which certain historical figures, places and events recur is a curiosity of the genre (occasionally known awkwardly as 'psychogeography') that Sinclair has pioneered to much admiration.

Even so, Dining on Stones marks something of a departure. Like his protagonist, Sinclair swapped the 'slow-puncture entropy' of E8 for the South Coast while he wrote the book. He told a newspaper: 'an interesting culture will evolve where people will consider themselves Londoners while living sixty miles out, in

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