January 2012 Guest Editor Simon Lelic selects As If...
A recent entrant into my ever-changing list of favourite books, this is another work I could read again and again – were it not so intensely heartbreaking. Although actually, that hasn’t stopped me, and nor should it any parent, son or daughter. I discovered it in researching my latest novel, The Child Who, and have since forced it upon virtually everyone I know. Gitta Sereny’s series of articles for the Independent on Sunday Review are the only other pieces of journalism to come out of the James Bulger case that come close to the standard Morrison sets – but my advice would be to read both.
This volume seeks to expose the hollowness of condemnation divorced from understanding in relation to the Bulger murder trial. People have almost become desensitized to random murder. It is often explained away by madness, sexual fantasy or rejection. One murder in recent times reduced every person to silence: the abduction and beating to death of a helpless infant by two ten-year-old boys. How and why did two innocent boys kill another? Is childhood innocence a myth? And what punishment could fit such a crime, assuming that children are fit to stand trial for murder? Blake Morrison went to the trial in Preston, and discovered a sad ritual of condemnation with two bewildered children at the centre. He looked for possible explanations in the boys' families, their dreary environment, their fantasies, their exposure to violent films. He evokes the worst feats of parents through candid and raw memories of his relations with his own children, and delves into his own childhood to reveal the worst thing he has ever done, to show how easy it is to go along with cruelty. Blake Morrison is the author of two collections of poetry, Dark Glasses and The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper , and is co-editor of The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry . His memoir, And When Did You Last See Your Father? won the Waterstone's/Esquire Award for non-fiction and the J.R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography in 1993.
Publication date: 04/08/2011
Publisher: Granta Books
|Publication date:||4th August 2011|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, The Real World,|
|Categories:||Literary essays, Causes & prevention of crime,|
Born in Skipton, Yorkshire, Blake Morrison is the author of bestselling memoirs, When Did You Last See Your Father? (winner of the J.R.Ackerley Prize for Autobiography and the Esquire Award for Non-Fiction) and Things My Mother Never Told Me ('the must read book of the year' - Tony Parsons), one novel and a study of the Bulger case, As If. He is also a critic, journalist, librettist and poet. He teaches Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, and lives in South London with his family.More About Blake Morrison