There’s an old joke, which I very much enjoy repeating, that while Mancs and Brummies might argue about whether Manchester or Birmingham should be seen as England's ‘second city’, every Scouser knows that particular honour must surely go to London.
Ghost Town is a love-letter to Liverpool. As a woolly back from the Wirral, who worked for many years in that wonderful city, I enjoyed this book very much indeed. It has an unusual, mythical feel, blending personal anecdotes with unreliable tales, memories and perceptions, and taking inspiration from a voracious reading of literature.
Anyone who has spent any time in Liverpool will have stories of the characters they met. Jeff Young has spent most of his life in the city, and has met an awful lot of characters. It was also nice to be reminded of favourite haunts from my own youth, including the much missed bookshop Philip, Son & Nephew, and buying Captain Beefheart albums in Probe Records.
A book I shall certainly return to. Highly recommended—even if you’ve never been fortunate enough to visit England’s true first city.
“…wonderfully droll, witty and entertaining… At their best Carter’s moorland walks and his meandering intellectual talk are part of a single, deeply coherent enterprise: a restless inquiry into the meaning of place and the nature of self.”
—Mark Cocker, author and naturalist
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