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Novel set in SCARBOROUGH

5th July 2024

Rare Singles by Benjamin Myers, novel set in Scarborough.

Novel set in SCARBOROUGH

Bucky Bronco is invited to Scarborough from America, a soul singer who had a one-hit wonder back in the day and no longer performs. He is met at the airport by super fan Dinah, who drives him from Leeds Bradford Airport to the coastal town, “Scarbados” (they have a strong and dark sense of humour in Yorkshire) and already there is a sense that this trip will be memorable.

He is staying at The Majestic Hotel (it has great views, apparently, if you get the right room) but he quickly decides that this once stunning building “was haunted by its own sense of absence“.  A typically English institution, much along the lines of hotels and lodgings described by David Nichol’s in You Are Here, places essentially that have seen better days and somehow litter the landscape of the country, reeking of history, dilapidation and lives lived. Yet Scarborough is rendered with a real fondness and insight, the hoards of gulls forming a noisy and oftentimes intrusive backdrop, with the North Sea so bound up in the fabric of the town.

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Bucky’s observations of the people: “The People spoke the same language, but were a different breed to those back home. There was a rash fatalism to them, a molasses-black humour, and maybe it was arrogance – or maybe it was a cavalier attitude to life that enabled the population to drink their own body weight in whatever liquor was to hand at any given moment. A nation of pickled people.”

He is addicted to prescription opioids and has arrived in Scarborough without his stash, desperately needed for his hip pain. The usual anti-inflammatories and pain killers no longer touch the searing affliction that colours his days. He may have been a soul star, but drink and drugs aren’t really his thing but they do dim the loss he has experienced recently, when his wife died and previously, his brother met a terrible death.

Dinah is on hand to smooth over the cracks, although she has issues in her home life. The two spend time together in the run up to his Saturday night performance and her mere presence smooths his edges. She is accepting of the idol whom she comes to know as a living and breathing person, with charm and idiosyncracies. Together, over just a couple of days, they bond in such a heart-warming way, which makes this a wonderful story. It doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects, but somehow the author blends them into the storyline and this somehow makes the narrative feel complete and rewarding.

Highly recommended, and particularly if you know Scarborough.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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Catch the author on Twitter X: @benMyers1 

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