a Town: Visions and Versions of Liverpool
Liverpool University Press, 181 pages, £12.95
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.