Wednesday 18 September 2013


(September 2013)

Here, in its entirety, is the opening paragraph of Angelmaker

At seven fifteen a.m., his bedroom slightly colder than the vacuum of space, Joshua Joseph Spork wears a longish leather coat and a pair of his father’s golfing socks. Papa Spork was not a natural golfer. Among other differences, natural golfers do not acquire their socks by hijacking a lorryload destined for St Andrews. It isn’t done. Golf is a religion of patience. Socks come and socks go, and the wise golfer waits, sees the pair he wants, and buys it without fuss. The notion that he might put a Thompson sub-machine gun in the face of the burly Glaswegian driver, and tell him to quit the cab or adorn it … well. A man who does that is never going to get his handicap down below the teens.

And, having read that, you will now know with complete certainty whether you will love the 560 pages that follow, or hate them utterly.


  1. Simply for its (the author's) use of language (the story's), I would not like reading it (the story).

    Diff-u-cult werdz: longish, lorryload, guns without first and last names and/or numbers), cab (if it ain't a taxi), and adorn.

    I've got this, call it 'instinctive', feeling that cultural ignorance regarding St Andrews or anything Glaswegian prevents me from really being able to savor the nuances of the piece.

    1. Guns need first and last name now?

      Y'know, I hadn't actually considered how culturally specific this book is. The more I think about it, the more I realise that it's very British indeed.

      I think this is very 'Marmite' language, and that in itself is a reference that if you don't get means you probably won't like it. Still, I've rarely come across an opening to a book which exemplifies so perfectly everything that follows. At least you know what you're going to get right from the off.