So Spirited a Town: Visions and Versions of Liverpool

Nicholas Murray
Liverpool University Press, 181 pages, £12.95

Reviewed by Eddie Roberts

This acclaimed biographer has prised open the niche created by Deborah Mulhearn's Mersey Minis to develop the theme of visiting authors' observations on our city. He immerses himself in their writings and as a member of the scouse diaspora (albeit the Welsh Marches) I sense a hint of estrangement. Nostalgia is mixed uncomfortably with scholarship. As with Epstein’s brazen ‘Spirit of Liverpool Resurgent’ referred to in the title (known to us as ‘Dickie Lewis’), Murray’s refined literary style can demand a second take.

The spotlight he directs strays into some grimy corners of our past, providing enlightenment. The selection of photographs is impressive, his commentary on events and characters ruminative, the critical asides written as though he were an eyewitness, eavesdropper, even mind-reader. From start to finish it was engrossing.

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