Thursday, August 19, 2010
Robert Westerby's "Wide Boys Never Work"
Right now, London Books Classic is putting out important books. And of course for those who know me, the work they are putting out is from the past. Which sounds like i have no interest in the present, which....is basically true - but on the other hand...
"Wide Boys Never Work" was written in the late 1930's and it is about a troubled youth who runs off to London to become something, that he can't be in his home town. What he finds there is sort of a paradise where you can make a new identity among the thugs of Soho, London. And saying that there are numerous colorful characters in this novel, but for sure the main character is London itself.
A Wide Boy is a term meaning gang kid or criminal. And it is in this world where the main character finds himself in a pleasurable light - although that world has a lot of danger, it still appeals to his sense of identity. also of interest is the Homosexual element in the gang world which is expressed quite well in this novel. Jimmy, the main character, is not gay, but through his boss witnesses another world that he wasn't aware of.
Iain Sinclair for this book wrote a magnificent introduction as well as a strange afterword, yet it fits in the package quite well. London Books Classic is a press that focuses on London as a magnet to wonderful mysteries and situations. "Wide Boys Never Work" is a classic London Noir book and I strongly recommend those who are interested in London the city as well as its dark culture.