Test Centre presents Iain Sinclair’s new booklet Austerlitz & After: Tracking Sebald, available to pre-order now.
An unused, adapted section from Iain’s forthcoming book American Smoke (due to publishing in November 2013), it recounts an East London walk in the late German author’s footsteps. In the company of Sebald’s friend, the poet Stephen Watts, the narrative moves from Liverpool Street through Spitalfields to the Jewish burial grounds at Brady Street and Alderney Road, considering along the way Sebald in life – his experience of London, his writing methods, and his residence in Norwich – and in death.Simultaneously it tells of Iain’s history in the same terrain, whilst through its use of images (a nod to Sebald) it provides an insight into his approach to composition. His American adventure flanked by the tale of the actress Gemma McCluskie, finally discovered in the Regent’s Canal, he attempts to write himself out of his locale.Austerlitz & After is available in an edition of 300 copies, of which 26 have buckram covers, are lettered and contain additional holographic material from Iain. Standard edition copies will be dispatched on 8th April, while special edition will follow later that week.
To pre-order and for more information, please visit: http://www.testcentre.org.uk/
“I have just heard that there is a new publication date for ‘American Smoke’: November 7.”
Another one of my long overdue updates.
The context was closed back in August 2012, when Iain received the correct answer from a reader who received the book.
The correct answer:
Apologies for the long delay.
I found this book review on The Londonist:
You might think a book of short stories about redevelopment in Hackney would be a rough and tumble of Olympic gripes. You’d be wrong. As Stewart Home says on the cover quote, Acquired For Development By… “reaches the parts of Hackney Iain Sinclair doesn’t reach”. Instead, we get a literary dolly mixture of alternative takes on the borough, with barely a mention of the Games.
Hackney redevelopment is often in the news agenda. Witness the recent battle over modern tower blocks in Dalston, and the ongoing encroachment of the City into the edge of the borough. It’s a singularly fascinating issue. Redevelopment can bring affluence and amenities to an area and provide much needed new homes. But the same developments can also have a negative effect on lives, pricing out existing residents and shops. It’s an emotive subject and one which Acquired For Development By… covers from many inventive and unexpected angles.
Three short stories look to a dystopian future. The Battle of Kingsland Road by Paul Case is a bloody burlesque charting the rivalry between a gang of gentrifiers from Stoke Newington and the fashionistas of the Hoxton Liberation Army — both of whom claim Kingsland Road as their own. Ashlee Christoffersen’s 2061, meanwhile, conjures a ghettoised, neo-feudal future for Clapton. Best of the three, in our opinion, is Kit Caless’ The Finest Store, in which the trend towards high street homogeneity reaches a hideous natural conclusion. This one deserves a longer treatment.
The non-fiction writing is also top-notch. Natalie Hardwick’s Alevism and Hackney hangs out with the area’s Alevi population, a cultural group rarely in the spotlight (even our spellchecker claims ignorance). Nell Frizzell’s account of a boating life on the River Lea is also enlightening.
Add in plenty of poetry, haikus, a ghost story and the tale of a man who falls in love with an electricity pylon, and you have a superb collection of original writing about London’s most fascinating borough. This is Hackney without the hackneyed, and a must-read for anyone who cares about the area.
Acquired For Development By…A Hackney Anthology is out now from Influx Press.