Guardian review

Sukhdev Sandhu has reviewed The Fountain in the Forest for the Guardian:

If, in some circles, crime fiction is still associated with penny dreadfuls and mass-market mediocrity, [Gertrude] Stein represents a counter-tradition – one that includes Jorge Luis Borges and William S Burroughs, Paul Auster and Thomas Pynchon – of highbrow and formally adventurous writers who have bent sinister, seeing this residually pulp genre as an ally in the war against a bland literary mainstream. The Fountain in the Forest is a rich, riveting example of this alternative lineage. […] White’s innovation is to fuse his revisionist narrative with techniques associated with Oulipo, the group of writers and mathematicians, including Raymond Queneau and Georges Perec, who produced work according to sometimes baffling rules and constraints (Perec’s novel A Void featured not a single “e”). White forces himself to use all the words that comprise answers to the Guardian’s Quick Crossword from March to April 1985 […] The words (Mondale, Ulster, Orwell, Derby Day) emerge as the collective lexical unconscious of the period, exude the strange poetry of the Shipping Forecast, and – mandated as they are – invite comparison with the kind of planted evidence that plays a key role in the novel. […] More insecure writers would have laboured to show off their erudition and ended up producing drily conceptual fare. White is always convivial company […] a restless, endlessly curious, somewhat centrifugal writer. His books […] are characterised by stylistic innovation, a feeling for place, a love of rogues and rebels. The Fountain in the Forest is no different. It’s also the opening salvo in a trilogy. I’m already awaiting the next.

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Read ‘The Fountain in the Forest by Tony White review – alternative social history’ by Sukhdev Sandhu (Guardian, 24 February 2018) here.

Buy The Fountain in the Forest direct from publisher Faber and Faber

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