So Spirited a Town
Visions and Versions of Liverpool
Nicholas Murray is a freelance author based in Wales and London. Born in Liverpool in 1952 he is the author of several literary biographies.
Preface 1. The Strange Dream of Doctor Jung 2. The Boy in the Playground 3. The Meaning of Scouse 4. Through Other Eyes 5. The Africa Trade 6. Christian Politeness 7. The Bootle Cow 8. The Wild Irish 9. Court Life 10. The Sea Bathing Lake 11. A Statue Exceedingly Bare 12. Of All Places the Most Museless 13. White Lace on Dark Waters 14. The Infantry Officer 15. Faces Without Laughter Coda Bibliography
The writer Nicholas Murray, a teenager in 1967, recalls being bussed in to see it from his school in Crosby. “I have never forgotten the impression it made,” he writes in his book So Spirited a Town, “of newness and modernity and light.” Like Murray, I was raised a Catholic and I associate it, like him, with shadows and secrets: poorly lit Victorian churches, low-wattage votive candles, knee-knackering confessionals with the priest’s face a pinkish blur behind the grille.
Nicholas Murray’s book is particularly strong on the traditions of radicalism and socialism that have marked Liverpool for more than 200 years. Murray’s extremely entertaining book doesn’t forget the humour of the place. While this might sometimes reinforce the cliché of the feckless Liverpudlian, it remembers a hard history and is knowingly self-lacerating
William Palmer The Independent
combining literary anecdotes from those who have disembarked there, such as Daniel Defoe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, with his own reminiscnces of his post-war Catholic childhood. He writes unflinchingly about the infamous "Africa Trade", conveys what it means to be Scouse and emphasises that Liverpool should not be associated wit "thievery" (a label that is increasingly old hat as eneneration under the European Capital of Culture banner continues), but as a place rich in diversity and creativity.
Christina Borg Sunday Times
...is well written and offers some decently-researched contentualising of the place that was for many years Britain's second city and with a port to rival London.
Planet, Issue 190
The LUP have made an excellent job of the production: well-spaced, clear type-face, enjoyable illustrations; “added value” as we have to say nowadays, so add it to your collection.
Newsletter of the Liverpool Group of the Victorian Society
Size: 234 x 156 mm
Publication: January 1, 2008