Brian Marley

BRIAN MARLEY  was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Having begun to write poetry in his early teens, he was soon publishing widely in small press magazines in the UK and elsewhere. He edited the imprint Laundering Room Press between 1974-77. By 1982 he’d switched from poetry to prose and there he remains. His photographic work has been exhibited in Brighton and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

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Brian Marley

Now it can be revealed ...

... why Jonah doesn’t want to talk about that business with the whale
... who the woman was in the Davy Jones and Casey Jones love triangle
... how a hapless former tennis pro tried to save a city from ruin
...why one generalissimo is never enough
... and twelve other windows on a world not quite our own    

Here's something different if that's what you're looking for.

Brian Marley's "The Shenanigans" is a collection of short stories (some less than a page long) written with a very different dramatic structure to the conventional exposition/development/resolution template that we tend to expect.

I'm not even sure what to call it - my understanding of Stream of Consciousness writing is that it can entirely do away with regular syntax.

This is not that. It is totally coherent from start to finish, but each "story" simply evolves and evolves, with precious little inclination to refer back to anything that had happened previously. I'm sure we've all had dreams like this.

It might have got tiresome were it not for Marley's seemingly limitless imagination. Really quite extraordinary, and given you're now forewarned, you won't do as I did and spend half the book trying to keep various characters and events in your mind for when they return. They rarely do, and you can possibly enjoy the book even more than me if you go into it with this knowledge from the outset. (You're welcome.) You just turn every page entranced by the bizarre endless shifts before your eyes.

(I guess I should have figured this was no ordinary book. After all, it opens with an Acknowledgements section that runs for 35 pages.)

The Shenanigans is published by a UK micro-press called Grand Iota, who work on a financial model not unlike crowdfunding. When a new release is in the offing, they notify their mailing list, and if you pre-order your copy, it will come with your name printed in a list of supporters at the back of a book. Your name in a book!

Anyway, do check it out if you want to try something a little off the mainstream, but thoroughly engaging.

Lloyd Swanton, ABC Book Club (Australia)






978-1-874400-78-3  220pp   2020

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Brian Marley

In a Westminster café-cum-courtroom, Jimmy Inkling is on trial, perhaps for his life. Unless, of course, he’s dead already. But will that be enough to prevent him from eliminating those who give evidence against him?

"What a marvelous novel! Madcap, often quite nuts, nothing like it. So thanks for the pleasure!" – TOBY OLSON

"Marley’s maverick novel ... delights in tying itself in knots which it eventually unravels. It is fiction which is happy to free-wheel, to swerve from this lane to that, get side-tracked, suddenly switch to the fast-lane, reverse and/or discover a circuitous route back to its starting point. In an Alice-like world, a café transforms itself into a court-room and a customer becomes the jury as a bevy of witnesses are assembled and interrogated as to the true nature of Inkling, who only got his name because he was a foundling and his finder hadn’t an inkling about from whence he hailed. The book comes highly recommended by dead authors (Ballard, Spark and Burgess)."
 ANTHONY HOWELL, Fortnightly Review

"Marley’s novel isn’t about establishing a state of guilt or innocence or solving a murder mystery, but examines and showcases (with abundant humor) our will to verify a single, absolute, unequivocal truth ... The language [in this book] is lively, colorful, ebullient and fun. It’s full of wit and imagination, myriad asides and an encyclopedic revelry in arcana, the kind James Joyce reveled in in Ulysses."
– JOHN OLSON, Golden Handcuffs Review


Review by SkylightRain

Review by Anthony Howell, The Fortnightly Review

Review by John Olson, Golden Handcuffs Review (PDF)

978-1-874400-73-8    318pp   2019