The Stars in the Bright Sky

Scott Hames writes:

‘Airports,’ J.G. Ballard noted, ‘seem to be almost the only form of public architecture free from the pressures of kitsch or nostalgia. As far as I know, there are no half-timbered terminal buildings or pebble-dashed control towers.’ Alan Warner isn’t a novelist you’d expect to be much interested in the departures hall, being best known for a sort of wild provincial fabulism. Each of his first five books is saturated with ‘place’, using skewed dialect and surreal local legend to transform tourist traps (usually in the Highlands, but with occasional trips to the Costa del Sol) into strangely heightened fictive worlds. His towns tend to ignore the tourist gaze, rich with their own gossipy lore.

(LRB 28 April 2011)

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