Three cities, two years, one chance: from the author of the critically acclaimed debut So It Is — shortlisted for best first book at the Scottish Book Awards 2013 — comes the hard-hitting story of a young man determined to find his voice.
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Plucked from obscurity in Glasgow, Rab Dillon is about to become the next great protest singer. Seduced by promises of stardom, carrying only the guitar given to him by the girl who broke his heart, he travels down to London. There he records the debut album that will speak to the dispossessed, the disenfranchised and disheartened.
One year later, he is sleeping rough on the streets of Brighton.
A modern-day ballad set across three cities and two years, The Busker is a richly comic exposé of the music industry, the Occupy movement, homelessness, squatting — and failing to live up to the name you (almost) share with your hero. It is also the story of what survives when the flimsy dreams of fame fall apart.
Liam Murrary Bell is also the author of So It Is (Myriad, 2012).
DURA: Dundee University Review of the Arts
Drawing on the recent Occupy movement, and on the resurgence in political activism that has followed the 2008 crash, [The Busker] is relevant, hard-hitting and certainly not lacking in grit...Bell's prose is unflinching, masculine and readable. He is certainly an accomplished stylist.
Herald, Paperback of the Week
Bell continues the winning streak he started with 2012's So It Is, with fine depictions of characters and locations, especially Rab's homeless companion Sage and the grimier parts of Brighton. View source
We Love This Book
This is a disturbing and realistic portrayal of the music industry, homelessness and how life can go horribly wrong. In an age where we are made to believe that talent and/or ruthlessness is all that it takes, this book reminds us sharply that no one is owed anything, and no matter how hard you work or how good you are things can still go wrong.View source
The likes of characterisation, setting and narrative voice come to the fore [in The Busker]. In these first two categories, Bell excels; Rab's acquaintances are believable and well-rounded, while the settings – from the grubby woodlands of Hyndland to the insidious coldness of Brighton's beachfront – are very well observed.
Scots Whay Hae!
The Busker is a tale for our times... What could have been a rail against the foolishness of youth is actually concerned with the way we judge art, (music in particular), asks us to consider "what price fame?", and questions just what we value in today's society... The Busker leaves you with the hope that it ain't over til it's over. View source