After reading it, all I can say is beware the novelist indeed! Because this is such a disappointing mess. I love The Smiths, I like Morrissey. I read the autobiography and I felt that his prose suggested he had a natural voice for the novel. I looked forward to him one day tackling the genre.
But no way did I expect this utter bumwash to be the result!
There are some good lines here. But they are few and far between. Characters speak like no real persons ever do. Witness one scene in which Ezra and Eliza, the All American high school sweethearts, discuss - with remarkable insight, like all American teenagers in 1975 didn't do - the then Tory leader of the opposition, Margaret Thatcher.
"I hate womb-men like that...they just can't wait to be one of the boys...and just watch, if she becomes Prime Minister, she won't hire any women in her government"
When one of them goes on to mistakenly call her Margaret Hatchet instead of Thatcher, it is immediately picked up on in the most immature, clunkily pretentious of ways
"Her name's Thatcher. Although you could be right when you say Hatchet. Just look at that boneless face...if ever an engine of grief..."
By the way the ellipses are the author's own. See what I mean? It's like the adolescent Adrian Mole thinking he's being daring and politically cutting. I'm a socialist, so I'm always up for someone giving the Iron Lady a good kicking, but please, this was embarrassing. And there's a lot more of this style in the non-event narrative of murder and four promising Bostonian track athletes.
Mercifully, the novella is just 118 pages long and I read it in one sitting. But if you ask me, it's 117 pages too many.