The Crying Game: By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept Review

Photo does not belong to me
Photo does not belong to me

I will not lie. I bought this book for its cover. Somebody mentioned it on Twitter and I went looking for it on Amazon where I fell in love with the cover for the very first time – well, what can I say? Sometimes I can be a very shallow girl.

I regret nothing.

From the get go this book is charged with longing. It feels almost voyeuristic to be party to such overwhelming emotion that doesn’t belong to you. Nevertheless, it’s gorgeous and honest; and it feels (a lot) like those days as a young ‘un when you wanted someone so badly but couldn’t do anything about it. I’ve been there, you’ve probably been there.

So it’s with that in mind that I plow through this breathtaking book. It’s not an easy read by any measure. The prose-poetry format is hard going and sometimes distracts you from the plot, which if you really think about it, is flimsy to say the least. All you really need to fathom though, from Smart’s beautiful words are the love she feels. And the despair, the regret; she feels it all (thank you Feist for this reference).

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Just look at it!

A bit about the history of this book. BGCSISDAW was first published in 1945 and is generally considered a literary classic. It details (but not much) Canadian author, Elizabeth Smart’s romance with the poet George Barker, whose small book of poetry she is alleged to have one day discovered on the shelf of a bookstore.

When I first started to think about this review I got to thinking a lot about the nature of the love story. Of the ‘Meet Cute’ and the exact circumstances/moment in which a person ‘just knows’.

This is an unusual and tumultuous love story that deserves it’s place on the page, but is it as extraordinary as it’s legend has you believe? Probably. How can one woman spout such unbelievable prose about something that doesn’t? I am awed by the writing.

My pondering also led me to this thought: how many great romantic tales are there out there that nobody will ever know about? There should be a law that if you have an incredible story you have to legally submit it for public record.

I digress, of course. The book begins when Smart flies both Barker and his wife to the USA from Japan to join her. Well, I didn’t say this was going to be easy.

I don’t want to say much more other than it’s worth a read. The writing will blow you away if you love language as much as I do  and I honestly think it’s an experience you should have as a book lover. In some ways, I wish all books were like this because it’s very pretty. I definitely wish all book covers looked like this.

You can currently score a copy on Amazon for around £2.81 (used)  if you don’t mind waiting for it to be shipped from the US.

Book details:

LA by Night: The Informers Review

Bret Easton Eliis book covers

I have read lots of Bret Easton Ellis and enjoyed him. I know what to expect from his detached writing style, his nihilistic characters, his familiar yet alien settings. The Informers is not surprising in any way. The sex and violence are just the little flourishing kiss marks you would expect Ellis to sign off with.

There were elements though of this book that made me feel very tired. The complete lack of hope for one, coursing through most of the stories. The tale of jaded rock star, Bryan Metro particularly. You’ll be horrified by his actions, though not surprised and that’s how the book tends to make you feel. Like you should feel more, that your reactions to the horror unfolding before your eyes should be stronger. But they’re not.theinformers

Set in the eighties, if you were a child growing up in this era like I was, you will love all the references to times gone by. You’ll look upon the lost (and found again) fashions with fondness. You won’t like anybody. You’ll be ready for rehab by the second story and like me, you’ll flip each page and be surprised your fingers don’t come away coated in coke.

It’s a bloody good read but it isn’t for the fainthearted. There’s a story in there about an unspeakably bad act committed to a child which almost halted proceedings for me. Then I remembered that scene in American Psycho and it doesn’t even compare (rats, prostitutes, standard).

The next book I’m going to read is about love. Suffering and sacrifice, sure – but no drugs.

Incidentally, Lunar Park has been my favourite BEE so far. Check it out if you’re after something that will mess with your mind and leave you in pieces behind the sofa!

Book details:

  • The Informers
  • Publisher: Picador (1994)
  • ASIN: B00KQJ7B66
  • Bought paperback (secondhand)