Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Review of Southsiders by Nigel Bird (Blasted Heath, 2014)
There’s much to like about Nigel Bird’s Southsiders. It has a great set-up -- a kid hooked on 50s R&B abandoned by both parents and trying to survive on his own; a nicely drawn set of characters; and engaging prose that manages to be tough and warm-hearted. I was thoroughly engaged with and entertained by the story and then it just stopped. If Southsiders is part of a series then I can see the logic of drawing the first instalment to a close. The issue for me was the point of closure was too early, with only one element closed, admittedly a key one, but all the others left open. In other words, I didn’t feel we’d got to the end of Act One and moreover I really wanted Act Two there and then as I needed to know how the elements of the first act got resolved - basically Southsiders is a novella that, in my view, would have been more satisfying as a full novel. Overall, then, a well told but truncated tale.