Winner of the Gordon Burn Prize. An unflinching portrait of contemporary Traveller culture by the author of The Gallows Pole
WINNER OF THE GORDON BURN PRIZEAn unflinching portrait of contemporary Traveller culture by the award-winning author of The Gallows Pole John-John wants to escape his past. But the legacy of brutality left by his boxer father, King of the Gypsies, Mac Wisdom, overshadows his life. His new job as an ice cream man should offer freedom, but instead pulls him into the dark recesses of a northern town where his family name is mud. When he attempts to trade prejudice and parole officers for the solace of the rural landscape, Mac’s bloody downfall threatens John-John’s very survival.
Pig Iron is an important book because it tells a story that has shaped all contemporary Western humans, but is routinely, inexplicably overlooked – the great move from agricultural life to industrial life. The respect in which that shapes human culture and individual humans -- Judge Deborah Orr
His poetic vernacular brims with that quality most sadly lost – humanity * Guardian *
One of my best reads this year ... A deeply rural story, a book full of passion for the English countryside and centred on the conflict between the travelling and the settled community. A very fine read indeed, it expresses a life view almost never examined in our narrow literary culture -- Melvin Burgess
A novel that resists mere classification as a ‘traveller’ book. This is yet another singular portrait of an outsider from Myers. And delivered through authentic characterisation, a monstrously compelling plot, and frequent humour – a rare combination of such successfully crafted elements – Pig Iron deserves to find itself on many a reading list, if not the National Curriculum * 3:AM Magazine *
What a staggeringly powerful book. It held me page by page, totally took me over. If I had to opt for a single word to encompass the experience of reading the book, I’d settle for ‘ferocious’ -- Dominic Cooper, author of The Dead Of Winter and Sunrise.
Original and urgent, exciting and uncompromising * Loud & Quiet, Books of the Year *
Never has an author caught the sense of dread, denial and defeat in the downward spiral so thoroughly and accurately as this since Hubert Selby Jr.’s masterwork Requiem For A Dream. Myers’ blend of low-life settings and high art conceptions, coupled with a sharp knowledge of North-East regional dialectical inflections and the region’s mapping, are a wonderful throwback to Joyce * Louder Than War *
Benjamin Myers’ influences are clear — David Peace’s northern brutalism is evident and there are suggestions of Salinger and Golding but Pig Iron’s savage vision is his alone * Morning Star *