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Muscle Reviews

Muscle by Alan Trotter

Muscle

Alan Trotter

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 7 Feb 2019
ISBN: 9780571352210

They seldom think twice, and ask very few questions. Until one night over the poker table, they encounter a pulp writer with wild ideas and an unscrupulous private detective, leading them into what is either a classic mystery, a senseless maze of corpses, or an inextricable fever dream .

5 stars out of 5
Todd McEwan
10 Feb 2019

"This is a remarkable, radical, historical novel"

The dialogue and the prose in Muscle flit effortlessly around the whole range of its sources and influences. Its prose is sullen, muzzy, droop-lidded. Some of it reads like a David Mamet play; there are undercurrents of Damon Runyon. There are utterances recognizable as pure Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. But Muscle’s inner logic, though highly poetic, is far superior to the junk in which it finds its origins... This is a remarkable, radical, historical novel. It’s as if everything bad about the 1940s and 50s are still circling the earth, another planet. You are practically strapped into a broken chair in a smoky, dingy room and forced to watch a writer at play, to watch his imagination, and what imaginations he gives his characters, zoom. 

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Andrew Taylor
2 Feb 2019

"Muscle reads like a tragi-comic mash-up of Elmore Leonard and Samuel Beckett, with more than a dash of Tarantino for added zing"

Muscle reads like a tragi-comic mash-up of Elmore Leonard and Samuel Beckett, with more than a dash of Tarantino for added zing. Trotter delights in the language of noir fiction — one minor character has ‘a nose that had been broken so many times it lay flat on his face like roadkill’; it’s a typical throwaway line, and a pleasure to read. Not everyone will relish the novel’s laboriously contrived construction, with its welter of nested, genre-fluid narratives and its dreamlike atmosphere. But Trotter is undoubtedly a writer to watch.