September 2009 Archives

Revolver

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Marcus Sedgwick
Orion
978-1-84255-186-8
July 2009

This book has done something important for me. And it has done it in a way so utterly and compellingly convincing that I shall henceforth consider Marcus Sedgwick a writer of the very highest order. I know others have long held him in that regard. I have admired some books of his, but none has registered that complete sense of satisfaction that you get when you read a book by a master of their trade. Let's be honest, few books do this completely. Two of my lodestars that I use when I have finished a book I have enjoyed are Robert Cormier and Sonya Hartnett. Yes, I think to myself, this book was good, but was it that good?

Well, I have to tell you that Revolver IS that good. And for the life of me I cannot imagine the conversation that must have gone on around the table between the judges of the Guardian Prize (to be announced on Thursday 8th October) that led to Sedgwick's book failing to make the crossing from longlist to shortlist. It is a shocking omission. This book should be on the shortlist of each and every fiction prize of the coming year, and that includes adult lists, because the story it tells is entirely unpatronising. If any book deserves to have 'crossover' success, it is this one. Fans of Cormac McCarthy, viewers of Deadwood alike will find familiar themes confronted with a moving, moral grandeur.

Marcus Sedgwick, you are the real deal. Revolver is a very fine achievement. A book that will stand the test of time as surely as one of the late stories of Tolstoy.