London Web Designers. Accessible, ethically priced London website designers. This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device. Skip navigation and go to content.

Thomas Bloor

Monday, May 08, 2006

CANDY by Kevin Brooks

I found CANDY compulsive reading. Some of the location details, the feeling of place - the train track leading in to Liverpool Street Station, the disorientating effect of emerging from the Underground at King’s Cross - are so similar to my own experience that reading these passages was something akin to deja vu. Some of the characters are also painfully reminiscent of people I knew in the past. Thankfully, however, I’ve never met anyone like Iggy. His villainy is utterly convincing, and his self-aggrandisement, his sense of theatre (also an entirely believable characteristic) allows for some thrillingly gruesome dialogue. The scene where the main characters, Joe, the first-person narrator, and Candy, the object of his obsession, finally cross the line that divides their past from their future sees the monstrous Iggy, tied up but terribly conscious, yelling at them “ better run…you meats now…you my little meats!”
An atmosphere of deep foreboding, masterfully built and sustained, hangs over proceedings from the outset. The story highlights the contrast between hopeless, obsessive love and addiction to heroin, an uncomfortable parallel more often explored in popular music than in novels for teenagers. But CANDY has its own scuzzy rock soundtrack built into the plot. Joe is a talented but unfocused member of a band called The Katies. One of the various twists in the storytelling resulted in this reader being more interested in The Katies success than the narrator is himself!
Although essentially non-judgemental, there is plenty of harsh reality on show - teenage prostitution, drug addiction, violence - and I was left with a considerable sense of desolation by the end of the novel. But this book is also a genuine thriller, tense and gripping throughout. The violent climax that builds from the very first page is finally resolved in a way that is at once shocking, surprising and satisfyingly right.
The final scene reminded me somehow of the conclusion to Orwell’s NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR. Orwell’s book ends with two former rebel lovers both having lost some essential part of themselves forever. In CANDY the ending is in some ways more open, but there’s also more than a little suggestion of clouds gathering overhead in this melancholy, minor-key last track.


December 2004   January 2005   February 2005   March 2005   April 2005   May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   November 2005   March 2006   May 2006   June 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   March 2009   July 2009   December 2009   February 2010   June 2010   September 2010   November 2010   January 2011   February 2011   August 2011   September 2011   January 2012   February 2012   August 2012   December 2012   April 2013  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?