Monday, October 17, 2016

Know Your Enemy

"The first thing you need to know about Bruce's novels is that each balances its bone-warpingly tedious mystery plot on a flimsy scaffold of footballing truisms and trite ruminations on modern life. The star of the series is Steve Barnes, football manager and occasional amateur murder detective.

Not everyone has 'a good GCSE in English' like Bruce, so you may not twig that this Barnes fellow is actually an ingeniously devised author surrogate for the man himself. This is just one of many high-concept literary devices used throughout the text, like random commas and names that change spelling from time to time."

Judging by Seamas O'Reilly's splendid dissection of Steve Bruce's novel Sweeper, Aston Villa's gain is very much literature's loss. With its racial stereotyping, sexism, sheer banality and (particularly) obsession with the specifications of Barnes' Jaguar, it might well be mistaken for the work of one Alan Gordon Partridge...

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