THE 9 LIVES OF RAY THE CAT JONES BY STEWART HOME ISBN13 9780992685843 PRESS RELEASE
Publication date 30 October 2014.
Format paperback. 272pp.
'what I want to do is tell you the complete and true story of my life, so you can understand me as an ordinary working-class man who acted as he did because of extraordinary circumstances'
The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones is the exciting new novel by writer, artist and performer Stewart Home.
It tells the story of the life of Ray 'The Cat' Jones, who nearly became middleweight boxing champion of the world but instead went on to become the greatest cat burglar of all time and made one of the most notorious prison escapes in British history.
Ray is a tee-total, fitness obsessed, working-class Welshman whose boxing ambitions were thwarted when he was set up by a corrupt cop and sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, setting him on a path of revenge and a crusade against the inequalities and injustices of British society. Ray is a modern Robin Hood waging an ideological class war against the rich.
From the jewels of movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren, to the private papers of the Duke of Windsor, paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt, and the furs of the London aristocracy, Ray's carefully targeted burglaries are perfectly planned and thrillingly executed.
Part biography, part true crime story, part political manifesto, the novel combines Home's typically sharp social and political comment with a fascinating, highly personal story of a life of crime and punishment. Ray was, it emerges, the cousin of Home's mother.
Ray is a thief with an 'extensive knowledge of radical history', highly articulate in his revolutionary call for social change. Through his shrewd and hilarious narration, combining cockney rhyming slang with theoretical discourse, his life story becomes a political protest and a call for action, in which Ray rubs shoulders with the likes of the legendary Kray Twins and Mad Frankie Fraser.
The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones is a great London novel, a vision of the city's underworld from wartime to the present. It moves between the clubs of Soho, populated by gangsters and gamblers, to the wealthy mansions of Kensington and Hampstead, inhabited by corrupt politicians and millionaires, and inside the walls of the city's prisons.
The novel is in many ways a departure for Home; formally more traditional that his avant-garde 'anti-novels', nonetheless it plays with the traditions of biographical writing, blurring the lines between real life and fiction, biography and autobiography.
It is as funny and astute as anything Home has written. Its compelling amalgamation of the genres of biography, crime thriller, historical fiction, satire and political protest novel will appeal to Home's many followers, while attracting a wide new range of readers. To the uninitiated, it is a perfect way in to the unique world of Home's writing.
Praise for Stewart Home
'I really don't think anyone who is at all interested in the study of literature has any business not knowing the work of Stewart Home.' - London Review of Books.
'Stewart Home is one of our most important and interesting novelists. His work has been termed 'avant-garde', but it is much more ambitious than that, as honest as it is unique.' – New Statesman.
About Stewart Home
Stewart Home is an artist, filmmaker, novelist and activist. Over his 30-year career he has worked in a variety of media including performance, music, film, writing, installation and graphics.
He is the author of the novels Pure Mania, Defiant Pose, Blow Job, 69 Things To Do With a Dead Princess, Memphis Underground, Down & Out in Shoreditch & Hoxton, Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie, and Mandy, Charlie & Mary Jane, among others. He has also published a number of non-fiction books, and was editor of the acclaimed Book Works series Semina.
Home was the recipient of a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award in 2013, in recognition of his work as a visual and performance artist.
About Test Centre
Test Centre is an independent publishing house and record label based in Hackney, with an interest in the spoken and written word. The label's first release was Stone Tape Shuffle, a spoken word vinyl LP with Iain Sinclair, followed by Chris Petit's Museum of Loneliness, and Stewart Home's Proletarian Post-Modernism.
As a publisher, Test Centre has published 4 issues of its fiction and poetry magazine. Other publications include a number of books and pamphlets by Iain Sinclair including Austerlitz & After: Tracking Sebald and RED EYE; GOOGLEmeGOD and House of Memory by Chris Petit; a facsimile edition of Derek Jarman's rare and only collection of poetry, A Finger in the Fishes Mouth; the poetry anthology I Love Roses When They're Past Their Best; and Within Habit by Oli Hazzard.
Launch event for The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones
There will be a launch for The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones on Thursday 6 November at The Function Room gallery at The Cock Tavern. This will also mark the closing of Stewart's exhibition with Chris Dorley-Brown, The Age of Anti-Ageing, which opens at the gallery on 16 October. http://functionroom.co/antiage/index.html
The Function Room is upstairs at The Cock Tavern, 23 Phoenix Road, London NW1 1HB. The event is unticketed and starts at 6.30pm. More details will be available on the events page of our website.
The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones will be available to purchase from www.testcentre.org.uk and in selected bookshops across the UK. Pre-orders will begin on 16 October.
Stewart Home interviewed about The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones
Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane by Stewart Home
Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie by Stewart Home
Memphis Underground by Stewart Home
Books & Writing
The cover of The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones by Stewart Home (Test Centre, London 2014).