I’m a bit lost for words on this one. One Three One by Julian Cope is startling, addictive, fascinating, funny, original and so refreshing it is hard to return to your ‘usual’ reading. The blurb describes it better than I can:
“Welcome to Sardinia: my hell, my home, my prison, my meditation these past sixteen years. What a place to die. But that’s precisely why I was back.” When drugged-up Time Traveller and ’80s musical burnout Rock Section and his fellow English hooligans get kidnapped during Italia ’90, there are ruinous implications. But now Rock has returned to Sardinia one final time to settle some scores and uncover the truth. He believes only Dutch cult leader Judge Barry Hertzog, still incarcerated on the island for the crime, can provide the answers. But through prescription drugs, the persistence of his driver Anna and a quest for the hidden ancient doorways strewn around Sardinia’s only highway, the 131, Rock will discover that a greater truth awaits him. Judgement, consequences, hoodwinking on a grand scale, Gnosticism versus agnosticism…131 is a Gnostic whodunit that pursues readers’ memories of all previous fiction into a peat bog and impales them with seven-foot-long pikes”
It is so good, I can’t tell you how much you should read it. The copious drug-taking, the mad road-tripping, the slipping through time-gates to 10,000 years ago, the sending up of football fanatics and the underground culture of bands, the bizarre and crazy characters all just sounded a bit much but the reviews on the book, and the calibre of the publisher, Faber, were outstanding so I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. When I finished I felt refreshed and energised and amazed. Even wondered if it wouldn’t hurt to read it while on something oneself…but no need – the writing is that exhilaratingly good, the tale absurd and profound, silly and deeply clever: very exciting, immensely entertaining and oddly enjoyable – like popping candy for the brain!
I talked one of our customers into taking it last week (wasn’t his sort of thing at all) and got a phone call at the weekend, he had almost finished it and couldn’t contain himself from ringing up to talk about the book and how freakishly good and utterly original it is.
Huh, turns out, not so word struck after all…
Even if you think you’ll hate it, this is one book I’d recommend trying – who knows what might happen? These are the reviews that pulled me in:
“The debut novel from the great cosmic intellect that is Julian Cope is as unique and fearless as the man himself“- Nicky Wire
“The myths and legends of Rock, rock and rocks collide on a freak-strewn highway leaving the reader feeling like a back-seat passenger suffering psychic whiplash“- Andrew Weatherall
“A total skullf**k of a book, a hooligan saga of rave damaged psychic shipwrecks and mythic time travel” – Bobby Gillespie
The author bio is just as intriguing, can’t wait for his next novel:
Julian Cope is a visionary musician, antiquarian and musicologist. His work with the Teardrop Explodes and as a solo artist marks him as one of British music’s great innovators. His studies The Modern Antiquarian and The Megalithic European have established him as an authority on ancient history and his joyful surveys Krautrocksampler and Japrocksampler have become required reading. He has also penned two successful volumes of autobiography, Head On and Repossessed, and continues to perform, solo and with his band, the Black Sheep.