No of pages: 544
Other Editions: Hardback
‘I’m not sure that I can claim to have taken my place in the human alphabet, even as its honorary twenty-seventh letter. I’m more like a specialised piece of punctuation, a cedilla, umlaut or pilcrow, hard to track down on the keyboard of a computer or typewriter. Pilcrow is the prettiest of the bunch, assessed purely as a word. And at least it stands on its own. It doesn’t perch or dangle. Pilcrow it is.’
That’s the reader’s introduction to John Cromer, one of the most unusual heroes in all literature. If the minority is always right, John must be practically infallible. He experiences his 1950s childhood as a sort of ramshackle isolation tank, screening out sensation and adventure. Of course, as he points out, time passed slowly for everyone in the fifties, it wasn’t just him, but it’s hard to deny him the status of a special case.
From that point on, John’s epic task becomes clear. He must climb out of the tank and make his way somehow on land. Pilcrow is an exploration of a rich but marginal life, an engrossing story with a vibrant supporting cast of ghouls, matrons and sexual adventurers.
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