Their Lips Talk of Mischief

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High up in the Conrad Flats that loom bleakly over Acton, two future stars of the literary scene – or so they assume – are hard at work, tapping out words of wit and brilliance between ill-paid jobs writing captions for the Cat Calendar 1985 and blurbs for trashy novels with titles like Brothel of the Vampire. Just twenty-one but already well entrenched in a life eked out on dole payments, pints and dollops of porridge and pasta, Llewellyn and Cunningham don’t have it too bad: a pub on the corner, a misdirected parental allowance, and the delightful company of Aoife, Llewellyn’s model fiancĂ©e, mother of his young baby – and the woman of Cunningham’s increasingly vivid dreams. Alan Warner’s superb new novel sees the author of Morvern Callar at the top of his game.

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