Paperback Ó Heartland ePUB Ú

Heartland Siamo nel pieno dei mondiali di calcio nippo coreani dele l onda lunga dellsettembre non ha risparmiato nemmeno Dudley, distretto siderurgico delle West Midlands A pochi giorni dalla sfida tra la nazionale inglese e l odiata Argentina, la squadra locale del Cinderheath Fc sfida la compagine musulmana della citt in una partita capace di scatenare una guerra razziale nel Black Country L atmosfera gi satura di rancore resa ancora pi ostile dall avanzata dello xenofobo British National Party e dal progetto di una megamoschea nell area dove un tempo sorgevano le acciaierie Rob ex giocatore e insegnante di sostegno non ha nessuna voglia di giocarla quella partita preferirebbe trascorrere la giornata con Jasmine, una vecchia compagna delle elementari tornata da Londra, o a casa del piccolo Andre, sfregiato per difendere la sua bicicletta, o insieme al fantasma di Adnan, l amico pakistano scomparso nel nulla Ma l attesa dell incontro non consente ripensamenti o sei zero o sei uno, ci sono battaglie che vanno sempre combattute Romanzo mondo dall architettura funambolica e dalla lingua in presa diretta, Heartland la radiografia del cuore nero di un Inghilterra ancora tramortita dalla cura Thatcher, ingannata dal New Labour di Blair e coinvolta in un conflitto a bassa intensit esploso nelle cinture metropolitane smarrite e abbandonate a se stesse Delicately considered and skilfully delivered, Heartland is the modern novel in its truest form Maybe I m being biased as a football mad British Asian, this is very much a story I can relate to I thought of my own memories of the summer of 2002 9 11 and how its legacy somehow crept into my world, the uncertainty over the St George flag amid a resurgent far right, that early morning when the entire country rose to watch our worst but most celebrated goal of that World Cup But I can take a st Delicately considered and skilfully delivered, Heartland is the modern novel in its truest form Maybe I m being biased as a football mad British Asian, this is very much a story I can relate to I thought of my own memories of the summer of 2002 9 11 and how its legacy somehow crept into my world, the uncertainty over the St George flag amid a resurgent far right, that early morning when the entire country rose to watch our worst but most celebrated goal of that World Cup But I can take a step back now and say that Heartland is a compelling read of its own merit In thinking big Cartwright goes deep rather than broad There is the odd clunky phrase but there are plenty of stunning passages I ve long wondered why so little adult fiction is written in the world of football, as a kid I and some of my other literary friends revelled in the exploits of cup winning goalkeepers and superstar strikers from the likes of Rob Childs but somehow, much like cinematic offerings, the sport hasn t seemed to have lent itself easily to adult literature hooliganism aside After a combined hunt for articles and lists on the subject we had a place to start that wasn t the obvious Fever Pitch by Ni I ve long wondered why so little adult fiction is written in the world of football, as a kid I and some of my other literary friends revelled in the exploits of cup winning goalkeepers and superstar strikers from the likes of Rob Childs but somehow, much like cinematic offerings, the sport hasn t seemed to have lent itself easily to adult literature hooliganism aside After a combined hunt for articles and lists on the subject we had a place to start that wasn t the obvious Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby or Barry Hines Kestral for a Knave, but it turns out whilst there may not have been many there have been some quality literary offerings around the world of football Anthony Cartwright s Heartland is one of the recent ones.Using football as a device for examining social structures in a similar yet less confronting and enjoyable way as David Storey s This Sporting Life did with Rugby League Cartwright turns his eye to the heart of England in the aftermath of 9 11 and the fear of the other that became greatly enhanced in the minds of the everyman, the kind of lunacy that is still pushing unsavoury types from the BNP in to positions of potential power Read sporadically whilst revising for exams, including the wake of another shocking terrorist attack on white westerners that got a lot of media attention, the subject matter of Heartland was suddenly increasingly relevant as lunatics were allowed to froth hatred in the public arena towards people of a different colour and religion out of fear of their otherness and it be condoned by otherwise sane individuals This is just one of the things that Cartwright got absolutely right.The other highly successful aspect is his writing about the sport, the act of playing football, whether the artful nature of the professional or the passionate attempts of the amateur, the exquisite agony of watching your football team and the way in which people interact with great meaning over what can be, has been, will be, referred to as just a load of poofters chasing a ball around some grass This stuff is brilliant, and setting it in 2002 not only brought back so many memories from my own life but impressively managed to accurately capture and recall the zeitgeist of the time And not just the hilarity that comes from remembering all of the times we dreamed that England could win the World Cup with a team that included such luminaries as Danny Mills, Trevor Sinclair and Emile Heskey either.If it was just a story about football and politics and social problems, if it was whole heartedly dedicated to capturing the kitchen sink realism aspects of the time and place Heartland would be a great book but unfortunately, at least for me, Cartwright chooses to pad his story out with minor characters backstories and whole sections of point of view material from characters that you never hear from afterwards that don t really seem to add anything to the portrait of his small town life except word count You re left with the impression that he has been trying to create something that a TV producer would like to turn in to a tense drama by giving them multiple dramatic minor story arcs and several characters for famous actors to do a days work on.All in all though, an impressive start to this exploration of a minor literary field going to the launch on May 7th Loved his first novel The Afterglow.Tremendous Review to follow tomorrow.Tomorrow I give a lot of five star reviews That s mainly because I seek out the best, plus you tend to forget the mediocre books you ve read Five stars are awarded if the book fulfills what I see as its brief, if the writer seems to succeed and takes you with them Plus the books have to worm into me somehow, affect me when I look up, differently, from the page and later as I m about m going to the launch on May 7th Loved his first novel The Afterglow.Tremendous Review to follow tomorrow.Tomorrow I give a lot of five star reviews That s mainly because I seek out the best, plus you tend to forget the mediocre books you ve read Five stars are awarded if the book fulfills what I see as its brief, if the writer seems to succeed and takes you with them Plus the books have to worm into me somehow, affect me when I look up, differently, from the page and later as I m about my business I m with the writer always Of course sometimes I don t succumb I have my blindspots eg the Davids Mitchell Peace , sometimes I probably swoon too easily I have my irrational loves eg Henry Green James Hanley.Anthony Cartwright may be becoming one of the latter lot His first novel The Afterglow concerned the problems of encroaching unemployment in a community devastated by the closure of a steel processing factory It was considered, true, a tricky but involving book that won your heart Similarly this one I m not sure everyone will love it It is as dense as his first, denser, moving between about ten points of view in a similar Black Country community and involves a lot of football Many of the characters are watching the England v Argentina match in the 2002 World Cup, the one where Beckham scores a penalty to take England through also a match is recalled between Cinderheath Sunday and Cinderheath Muslim Community team This latter is the focus of much anti Muslim feeling the BNP British National Party see it as an oportunity to re assert national values, and use it for electioneering purposes Remember the time 2002 only 9 months after 9 11, and that three of the Guantanamo internees were from here the Tipton three recently released In the novel Adnan is missing and there is speculation he is one of the bombers Into this mix of football and terrorism and local politics is thrown the story of the main character, an ex professional footballer with a famous dad and a crush on a teacher where he is a teaching assistant A very rich and potent brew that could go terribly wrong if badly handled Cartwright does it perfectly, with poise and compassion and skill.I may be biased because a I love football and the writing makes you feel you are watching the England match on the big screen in the pub, and also on the pitch with the players in the Sunday League game, e.g Zubair had hit the pass, stood like a golfer having hit a tee shot he liked, perfectly still and watching it, and the ball that Rob thought he was going to head, deep down wanted to take on his chest and step away with and show his contempt for this game he d somehow ended up involved in, was suddenly on him and he d taken a step towards it to head it, but it was floating, floating, and was going to drop over him and instead of jumping Rob had to turn, which he couldn t do, not anywith his disintegrating knees, and scramble after it, and the ball was dropping over his head that also gives you a flavour of how much the author can pack into one sentence.b It uses the Black Country idiom Black Country btw refers to its past as a mining community, nothing to do with the high proportion of black and Asian immigrants who have settled there , which living in Birmingham just down the road is second nature to me and I understand perfectly this Yow ay gonna have a goo, am yeryou re not going to pick a fight are you c I don t really know the author but have met him twice at launches and had a quick chat and he is the most unassuming and pleasant fellow who obviously writes from the heart He understands community and family and the limitations of their bonds and responsibilities and can put them in a wider, political context But mainly he s a skilled writer who involves you in his webs of feeling and character Anthony Cartwright pulled off a masterpiece here More of this, please Heartland contains layer upon layer upon layer of pure literature, photographing post 1990 Britain in a unique and powerful way A mixture of Joyce and Gadda pulls you into this study on the modern role of football in small communities, how these communities struggle to replace old, fading bonds with new values and aspirations, how people get dragged in situations and how they react to life s inexorable disappointments Ca Anthony Cartwright pulled off a masterpiece here More of this, please Heartland contains layer upon layer upon layer of pure literature, photographing post 1990 Britain in a unique and powerful way A mixture of Joyce and Gadda pulls you into this study on the modern role of football in small communities, how these communities struggle to replace old, fading bonds with new values and aspirations, how people get dragged in situations and how they react to life s inexorable disappointments Cartwright doesn t provide moral recipes or an easy way out, and it doesn t try to lecture its characters Non white protagonists sound slightly tin at times, they really work better when seen from the outside , but maybe this is just my background talking, or maybe I ve been sucked so much in the white protagonist s world nice guy Rob, with his football shirts and his failures that I struggle to get out If you ve ever lived in Britain outside London, or you ve ever played football in a team, you ll love this book If you re a middle class twat, or you think everyone outside M25 should be shot, then you could do worse than reading this

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