Saturday, August 14, 2010
"Night and the City" by Gerald Kersh
"Night and the City" is pretty amazing on different levels. On one end I don't think its a great novel, but as a portrait of a time, place, and a certain type of character it's totally ace. Written in 1938 and mostly taking place in Soho London it is a snapshot of a group of hustlers trying to stay above the water-line of sorts.
The main character is Harry Fabian, who for god knows, should be a major iconic fiction figure. But alas, what we have here is a pimp who lives his life in a certain amount of fantasy. No self-control, not that bright, but at least he has the talent of a hustler, but hustles in small steps instead of a larger plan. And yes, he does have a large plan of opening up a wrestling ring/club, but he also a man of very little talent.
The fun part of the book is knowing that he will hit downward, but how? The big character in the book is West London and its citizens. Along with Fabian we get Helen's road to ruin as well Phil Nosseross, the British Pound counting nightclub boss. Remarkable book and an amazing new press out of the UK : London Books Classic.