Talk of the Town Find!
In preparation for some upcoming events in our libraries with Jacob Polley I have been reading his debut novel, Talk of the Town.
Jacob was born in 1975 in Carlisle. He is perhaps better known as a poet. He won the Eric Gegory Award and the BBC Radio 4/Arts Council 'First Verse' Award, in 2002. His first book of poetry, The Brink, was published by Picador in 2003, and was a Poetry Book Society Choice. It was also shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys prize.
Jacob was also selected as one of the Next Generation Poets in 2004 and his second book, Little Gods, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
He was Visiting Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge between 2005-07.
Jacob's first novel, Talk of the Town, was published in June. It has been described as a "coming of age" novel, and tells the story of 14 year old Chris Hearsey, who lives on an estate in Carlisle.
Set over the last weekend of the school summer holidays in 1986, we follow Chris as he tries to find his friend Arthur who has been missing for a week.
As the story unfolds the reader gets a vivid picture of a less picturesque side of Cumbria: working class estates; gangs; solvent abusing teenagers; mindless acts of violence against people, possesions and property; the darker, seedier side of Carlisle and the contrasting rural, agricultural and more isolated hinterland.
Chris has to survive and navigate a life through this environment. He has learned that there are ways to act and behave both at school and out on the streets of the estate and the city, in order to survive without bringing unwanted attention to himself and without making himself look vulnerable.
He is a fairly quiet and actually quite likeable boy, and his misdemeanours are no more serious than sneakily drinking cups of coffee which his mum doesn't like him to have, drinking illicit cider with Arthur, and smoking the odd pack of cigarettes.
Talk of the Town is a fascinating book, and I found it to to be both a compulsive and a great read.
As you would expect given Jacob's background, the imagery is poetic, and the characters are simulataneously grim, frightening and funny.
As well as portraying a challenging teenage life, and a rite of passage, Jacob has depicted and captured the essence and spirit of one side of 1980's Carlisle, so you actually feel what it must have been like to be there at that time and in that particular environment.
The first person narrative adds to this sense as it is written in a phonetic rendition of the Carlisle accent. As I now work in the city I was able to recognise many of the places mentioned in the book, and the fact that real street names are used, rather than made up ones, gives it an even deeper sense of location, setting and place.
This is a book which is rooted in and vividly depicts an aspect of Cumbria and a section of its populace - even if it might be an aspect which many may not associate with Cumbria's more usual "image".
To find out more about Jacob Polley see: http://jacobpolley.com
7 September 2009 from Helen
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- Ethel Fisher's West Cumbrian Dialect titles
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- Nella Last's Peace
- Riding the Stang by Dawn Robertson
- Life on the Fell - a pictorial chronicle of a Lakeland community
- About Scout Scar
- William Wilberforce - A Summer Diary 1779
- Beatrix Potter - the unknown years
- Smoke over Shap by Margaret Potter
- Songs of a Cragsman by George Basterfield
- The Grasmere Dialect Plays
- The Grizedale Experience: Sculpture, Art & Theatre in a Lakeland Forest
- An Atlas of The English Lakes
- How Hall. Poetry and Memories. A Passion for Ennerdale by Tom Rawling
- Stumpy, Hero of the Lakes
- The High Places by A. Harry Griffin
- The Highest House in Wathendale
- Kendal by Roger Bingham
- Secrets and Legends of Old Westmorland
- Reminiscences of Wordsworth Among the Peasantry of Westmorland by Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley
- Little Gods by Jacob Polley
- A Lakeland Summer
- Hunter of Harter Fell by Joseph E Chipperfield
- And Nobody Woke Up Dead
- An accessible paradise
- The Fleming Family novels and Graham Sutton
- Excursion to Loweswater. A Lakeland Visit 1865
- Writing on the Wall
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- Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole
- Kendal In The Nineteenth Century by A Wainwright
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- Old Will Stories by Dudley Hoys
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- Early Recollections of Grange
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- Talk of the Town
- Capturing the Mountains
- Hope On, Hope Ever
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- Lakeland Limericks
- Surrounding loveliness
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- Hercules and the Farmer's Wife
- Shepherd's Warning
- The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices
- I've been so busy reading I haven't had time to blog!
- Reading Detectives film
- Thank you!
- Coffee and books at the Bluebell Bookshop
- Mary learns to blog!
- Lucky 13!
- Grange over Sands get reading
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