Suicide Bridge

A Book of the Furies

A Mythology of the South & East

Iain Sinclair

This classic text has in recent times been fused to its contemporaneous volume, Lud Heat, but very much deserves to stand on its own. Suicide Bridge was originally published by Albion Village Press in 1979 with the sub-title A Book of the Furies, A Mythology of the South & East – Autumn 1973 to Spring 1978.  As elsewhere, Sinclair saunters into the shadowy city underworld with his ever-watchful eye and roving syntax, this time probing the mythic figures from William Blake’s Jerusalem and the mythical king Bladud. Previously text-bound entities such as Hand, Hyle and Kotope are made flesh and and given  foggy breath in the contemporary landscape. Addressed to “the enemy” the reader is precariously perched on the teetering bridge while the author kicks at the mythic spindles that hold it up. Sinclair’s alternating, inter-penetrating prose and poetry become the uneven struts and pylons of a new concrete/abstract literary edifice.

Iain Sinclair describes himself as a “British writer, documentarist, film maker, poet, flâneur, metropolitan prophet and urban shaman, keeper of lost cultures and futurologist.”  He was born in Cardiff in 1943 but has lived much of his life in Hackney, East London.  He has written considerably and famously about the capital city and for doing so is often linked to the term ‘psychogeography.’  His numerous novels include Downriver (which won both the James Tait Black Prize and the Encore Prize), Radon Daughters, Landor’s Tower and Dining on Stones (shortlisted for the Ondaatje prize). He has also written a number of non-fiction books that explore the mythical underpinnings of the ancient city of London, including Lights Out for the Territory, London Orbital and Edge of the Orison. No stranger to television, Sinclair has also presented a number of films for BBC2’s Late Show and been involved with a series of documentaries for Channel 4, including Asylum, which won the Montreal Festival short film prize.

‘One of the cliffs of Blake’s and Coleridge’s Albion sweeping against the walls of Everywhere…

This is the landscape of another realm. We are walking over a raw and smoking surface filled with surprises. All around are the possibilities of lost tribes quietly bustling in the shadows… This is a rare jewel.’

— Michael McClure

 

‘Vitality is one of the many qualities radiating from Iain Sinclair’s superb collection, Suicide Bridge… Sinclair’s is a cerebral flame ignited by political anger… He is utterly traditional, his roots extending back through Ginsberg and Dorn, and beyond that, to Blake. His method is to appoint a cast of archetypes, Skofeld, Bladud, Coban, Atum, Kotope, and have them prance, like Sweeney, Ignu or Rintrah, through the wreckage of capitalism, manipulated by powerful rhythmic lines…’

— Jeff Nuttall, The Guardian

 

‘The book is an excitement to read. Always strong, always compelling, like a good thriller. How he can actually handle all the dark stuff, the mantic utterances, within his own being, I can’t say. He must have a strong psychic interface to deal with the Intruder who gives him these tales, who compels the knowledge, traces the dark patterns in the grass… Read it, for a totally other experience of hidden Albion.’

— Chris Torrance