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THE BEAT YEARS

KEN CHAMPION

 

Paperback 6" x 9" 73 pages ISBN  978-1-326-46749-4

Published November 2015

 

‘In his latest novella, Champion returns to the distinctive territory of family, work and identity as experienced in the aftermath of war in the grim, treeless, rubble-strewn terraced streets of a still mono-cultural east London.

It tells the story of Ben Stevens as he undergoes the rite of passage from boy to man, shedding light on a long lost world of black and white television, rigidly defined gender roles and, most importantly, the suffocating straitjacket of class. This manifests itself in a myriad of ways within and across social classes, from the forelock-tugging fawning sycophancy of Ben’s father (“a man of few skills his instinct told him that to survive he would have to defer”) through to the internalised codes that differentiate the ‘respectable’ from the ‘rough’ working classes and, most starkly, in the seemingly irreconcilable divisions between classes.

Though informed by these serious, timeless, even epic themes, Champion’s descriptive strength comes from his exquisite minituarism and his ability to capture the intimate detail of routine domestic settings. His characterisation is pretty faultless too. Family aside, we get to meet a cast of ‘village irregulars’ like Brilliantined bad boy, Vinny Duggan, Ben’s sensitive cineaste soul-mate Johnny and frustrated crimper turned greasy-spoon owner, Lou. There’s also a lovely cameo of a narcissistic gym master that’s worth the cover price in its own right.

Champion’s stark and sometimes disturbing stories, told often with anger and a dust-dry wit, manage to reach out to the general reader whilst also generating plaudits from critics and peers. And he is not only prolific, he is near as dammit pitch-perfect as he turns in yet another assured narrative that effortlessly snares the reader and draws us into its grainy, lost world.’

                                                                  Chris Connelley, Hastings Independent (2015)

 

Ken Champion is an internationally published writer, novelist and poet whose work has appeared in literary journals in the US and extensively in magazines and anthologies in the UK.

A volume of short stories, Urban Narratives (2013), a novel, The Dramaturgical Metaphor (2014) and a collection of poetry, Cameo Metro (2014) have been published by Penniless Press Publications. A pamphlet, African Time (2002), chapbook, Cameo Poly (2004) and a first collection, But Black and White Is Better (2008, reprinted 2010) are published by Tall Lighthouse. He is a South Magazine Profiled Poet and a reviewer.

A selection of his poems and fiction can be found at The Poetry Library and at www.kenchampion.org.uk

Ken lectures in sociology and lives in London.

 

 
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