The following review was given to me last week. I am hereby posting it due to the very intelligent interpretation expressed within.
30th July 2017. Review for Blackout by Boyd Clack, Cardiff.
I read Blackout in two sittings. It tells the story of a young Valleys woman who meets the son of the amoral owner of the factory in which she and all the other women in the town work. She is unaware of who the son is. He has come to stay in a mountainside cottage which his father bought to live in when setting the factory up many years before. The son is a somewhat deluded would be rock star and the cottage is filled with recording equipment on which he intends to create the album that will break him in the business. He thinks the girl’s attitude and singing voice are perfect for his vision and she, excited at the idea, goes along with it. The story itself is interesting and well told but in my reading of it the story became ephemeral to what I saw as the core subject matter. The girl’s life, her relationships with her friends, fellow drinkers in the local pub, and her mother from whom she is alienated, indeed her entire perception of reality is filtered through the brain of an alcoholic. I have some experience of such all consuming dependency and know that it creates another world, a parallel reality that slowly takes over the old reality to become the new true reality. What Blackout does so well is to illustrate this quasi reality in a mundane setting. I once frequented a pub that I thought to be a wonderful sparkling place full of glittering lights and fascinating people for several months then went there sober one evening to see it for what it was, a seedy depressing dump peopled by fellow losers. Blackout shows the facade of such a ‘glittering’ world with the dream of a new life and love and fame but I was aware that none of it was real, that it was the delusion of a stage of drug addiction. It is this that gives the novel its power. It is this that raises it above proletarian reportage. It is this that gripped me. Boyd Clack. (Playboy of the Rhondda Valley; Poet Laureate of Despair.) X