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RED LONDON BY STEWART HOME. Published by AK Press on 28 July 1994 at £5.95.
Stewart Home has been described as making the Marquis de Sade look like Barbara Cartland. Pure Mania, his first novel, was hailed by Time Out as 'the stuff of which cults are made'. The follow-up,Defiant Pose, was pronounced 'the ultimate cult novel' by the NME, while The Face praised it as 'a future underground classic'. Selecting No Pity, a collection of short stories, as his book of the year for 1993, Richard Smith declared in Gay Times that Home had 'consolidated his reputation as the only person currently writing fiction worth bothering with'.
Red London demonstrates once again that Home has grasped the future direction of the novel and is creating a fictional vision that will stand the test of time. While the work of other English writers is doomed to sink without trace because a wave of nostalgia has deprived contemporary literature of energy and life, Home has married the avant-garde theories of the Situationist International to the narrative techniques of pulp hacks such as Richard Allen and Guy N. Smith. The result is a cultural hybrid that is unprecedented in its originality and vigour.
Red London is set in the now demolished East End terrace where Rachel Whiteread cast her 'sculpture' House. But whereas Whiteread saw the Grove Road dwellings as a universal symbol of Victorian domestic architecture, Home is concerned with the political implications of the specific history of these buildings. Housing is the major determinant of political behaviour in Tower Hamlets and the municipal corruption exposed in Red London can lead to the election of far-Right candidates, as happened last year on the Isle of Dogs,or to anarchist insurrection of the type Home depicts in his novel.
One function of this book is to act as a corrective to the activities of the cultural establishment. Rather than blocking discussion of social issues by filling a terraced house with concrete and then claiming this has transformed a particular building into something of 'universal' significance and therefore removed the need for anything other than 'aesthetic' debate, Home is interested in exposing the ideological function of 'serious culture'.
More Red London bad craziness (text of flyer promoting book)
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