Review: Sinclair’s White Chapel: Scarlet Tracings

White Chapel: Scarlet Tracings

Iain Sinclair

An odd but of work, this novel by poet, bookseller, novelist and pyscho-geographer Iain Sinclair was one of the main inspirations for Alan Moore’s From Hell. It’s a pretty out-there novel that is part investigation into the Jack the Ripper murders, part fictionalized pseudo memoir of life amongst the down and out book scouts of modern day England, part psycho-geographic venture into the spiritual heart of London, part spaced-out weirdness.

When I am in the right mood (as I often was, in my mid-twenties, when I read this book) I love this kind of freewheeling experimental stuff. Its hits all the right buttons for me: conspiracy theories taken seriously, but with a wink; book obsessed losers trawling for hidden gems; long observations on the intrinsic qualities of a city; quasi-mystic weirdness, randomly experimental passages. I remember not always knowing what was going on here, but enjoying the ride none-the-less. Today’s Sean might be frustrated by this, but mid-twenties Sean really enjoyed that kind of thing.

If situationist inspired novels featuring investigations into conspiracy theories of Victorian crime sprees are your thing, than this is worth a look.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

Iain Sinclair

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About seanv2

Scholar, gentleman, jock. I run the website Milo and the Calf. There you will find the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire where runners share their stories of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You'll also find my thoughts on endurance sports, ancient history, Judaism, and hundreds of book reviews.
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