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King of the City Paperback – Bargain Price, November 30, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0380795035
  • ASIN: B000H2MEHS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,947,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like Gargantua or Tristram Shandy, Dennis "Denny" Dover is born with all the portents of some future myth. "I was born in Mustard Street. In the top back room of the Hare and Hounds. On 21 December 1952. My dad... was the last real Londoner to be hanged for murder." We first meet Denny, the narrator of Moorcock's scurrilously exuberant London novel, on a downer. He has scored a coup, photographing a supposedly dead English billionaire, Johnny Barbican Begg, enjoying illicit, copulatory bliss with an English countess on a Bahamian island. Denny's scoop is outscooped, however, by Princess Di's car wreck, which not only chases everything else off the headlines, but puts paparazzi in bad odor with the public, forcing Denny to hide out in an English resort town, Skerring. In the long flashback taking up most of the book, we go from the early '70s remnants of a swinging London, with Denny a cult rock and roll guitarist, to his news photography in Rwanda and then his paparazzo days. At the heart of Denny's story is his love for his cousin Rosie Beck, and for working-class London. Rosie metamorphoses from a radical to Barbican Begg's wife and, perhaps, the plotter of his downfall. Moorcock includes real people, like Johnny Lydon, and a host of fictional characters, like the Quentin Crisp-like actor, Norrie Stripling, as though the book were Moorcock's version of the Sgt. Pepper album cover: private favorites and public enemies. Fans of Moorcock's science fiction might find the references hard going, but readers of his Booker Prize-nominated Mother London will enjoy the novel's angry rant against the vices of the age.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Brilliant!" -- --BBC Night Waves

"Genius!" -- --City Life [London]

"Joyous!" -- --The Literary Review

"Unbeatable!" -- --Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Born in London in 1939, Michael Moorcock now lives in Texas. A prolific and award-winning writer with more than eighty works of fiction and non-fiction to his name, he is the creator of Elric, Jerry Cornelius and Colonel Pyat, amongst many other memorable characters.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Leonard, you'll love this, you said.
Leonard Steel
If you want anger, humanity, comedy, real tragedy and a loving picture of Moorcock's home city, this is the book for you.
"tempi"
Moorcock's understanding of modern politicians, like Clinton or Blair, is wonderful, as is his writing.
"gordian27"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "tempi" on September 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The incredible consistency and vitality of the writing would, if Moorcock weren't such a familiar (and frequently unread) name, set the literary world to raving his virtues. This book is not only a sustained attack on what Moorcock calls 'totalitarian
capitalism' -- consumerism -- it is a moving love story, an elegy for a past torn down and buried by human rapacity and greed, and it is FUNNY. While it can be compared to Bonfire of the Vanities, there really isn't any serious comparison. Moorcock keeps his passions, his commitments, his loyalties and writes from an angry heart that retains its tolerance and concern for the underdog, for the undervalued -- but never lets the top dog or the overvalued get away with it. Like most of his work, this book is not for the reader who simply wants their cultural values and presumptions reinforced. Moorcock has been questioning and
wrestling with the great concerns of our age since he wrote The Final Program and Behold the Man (in the same year) and King of the City reinforces the moral weight and voice of his extraordinary Holocaust series about Colonel Pyat, the jew-hating Jew. Like all his best work, including Mother London, this book is Dickensian in its mixture of humor and tragedy, and I wouldn't consider myself a sophisticated modern reader unless I had read at least Moorcock's London fiction, together with his
holocaust fiction. This would be a fine place to start -- though even the holocaust books can seem mellow in comparison! If you want anger, humanity, comedy, real tragedy and a loving picture of Moorcock's home city, this is the book for you. Its analysis of the world of modern commerce is brilliant. His solutions are knowingly utopian -- but you can never say Moorcock isn't positive.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Leo Steele on January 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Whoever thinks this book has no shape just doesn't know what a gem they have in their hands! Like Mother London, you have to let Moorcock lead you through something of a maze. You have to give yourself up to his work, as with the Cornelius books. If you let him lead you -- he'll take you a lot of places you've never been before. The centerpiece of this novel appears to be the big Thanksgiving Party at the Red Mill, when every character in the book dances around the mill, while above them the vanes turn through a third dimension. In Mother London everything radiates from the Blitz scenes. This is a more eccentric shape, but it certainly works for me. It doesn't matter how many times Denny Dover has been married (three, I think) -- just look at the women he's married. Each one a wonderful individual! Rosie, his cousin, is a sort of Diana figure, as beautiful as she is good, and it's at this point, for all Rosie is a living, thinking human being, you realise why this book is called 'A Fable'. It is dealing with the fabulous. It is all invented. Virtually no place in the city, however much you mourn a genuine loss, ever existed. You think the names are familiar, that they are bound to be just around the corner, or on the next tube station, but they never are. This entire London is an invention. But why is it an invention ? I think it is the other side of Mother London, which was all about real places, real London. This is the modern fantasy of London, as unreal and at the same time as real as anything Dickens ever gave us. And, finally, you understand why Peter Ackroyd has called Moorcock the modern Dickens -- for his humanity is as profound as his inventive genius. Moorcock is a true original.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding novel. There is no better writer than Moorcock at his best. This love story against a background of growing world consumerism is rich with characters, plots and Moorcock's incredibly funny, incredibly wise, observations of our complicated and confusing consumerist society. But it is the characters you remember -- the generosity, the warmth, the anger, the sheer humanity. And the scope. Only Moorcock gives you that scope -- London, New York, Rwanda, Kosovo... Not enough Americans know Michael Moorcock's literary fiction. It is their great loss. He is one of the best we have.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is nothing less than modern Dickens. A kind of Great Expectations for our post-modern times. It's amazing. It's
a whole different level of writing. All I can say is -- read
it and see what I mean!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Steel on September 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Leonard, you'll love this, you said. And you were right. But how did you know ? Thanks, Amazon! This is a great, great novel about pretty much everything that affects modern urban society, mostly about the rapacious destruction of their own heritage by Londoners destroying the best in order to make an even greater profit, but also about international terrorism, the New World Order and all the causes of our present terrible situation. But it's better than that. This isn't a doom-saying book. I's a heartening book which celebrates the spirit of ordinary people. This is a book which accepts the present terrible state of the world and suggests -- believe it or not -- a viable solution.
Clear-eyed, ranting angry and positive, even optimistic. A great book for our age.
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