Trevor Hoyle - Rule Of Night
- Nicholas Royle, Time Out, London Book of The Week 2-9 July
Originally published in 1975 and now reissued by intriguing new Hebden Bridge-based Pomona
Books, 'Rule of Night' is a powerfully authentic account of working-class life and gang violence
in early-1970s Rochdale.
Sixteen-year-old Kenny Seddon has girlfriend (Janice) and a football team to follow (the Dale),
but he can't hold down a job and he's filled with hatred for the world around him. The only
thing that lifts him out of his rut of existential despair is the promise of an evening's criminal
activity, whether it be selling pills to teds and Northern Soul boys, or mugging Pakistanis
for pennies. With steel washers for a knuckle duster an a shapened spindle in his pocket, he'll
take on anyone from disguntled Bury fans to longhaired bikers to youths in bowler hats who've
taken 'A Clockwork Orange' a bit too literally.
In an afterword written for the new edition, Hoyle reveals what prompted him to write the novel.
He wanted to discover what makes someone like Kenny tick, to find the human being inside the
hooligan. This is precisely what he has done, with an extraordinary degree of success. It's
testament to Hoyle's skill as a writer that despite the shocking pleasure Kenny takkes in hurting
others, despite his disgraceful treatment of women and people of other races, despite his unthinking
callousness, monumental insensitivity and relentless brutality, we still care about what happens
to him, we still become emtionally involved, because the author has made him real.
With the much feared return of football violence and the elections
of BNP politicans in Lancashire towns, Kenny Seddon is a character
as relevant to our times as to three decades ago.
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