In American fiction, the lines of genre are regularly blurred so that characters in the writings of ‘dirty realists’ like Nelson Algren, Harry Crews, John Fante and Charles Bukowski can comfortably inhabit the same world as those of crime fiction writers such as James M Cain, Elmore Leonard and Charles Wilford. 

This, of course, is a very good thing.

With British fiction, perhaps because of the yoke of the class system, that doesn’t happened so much. But with the new sub genre of Brit Grit, things are changing. A lot of these new hard-hitting writers have as much in common with Irvine Welsh and Allan Sillitoe as they do with Ted Lewis.

This, of course, is a very good thing.

Which brings me to  Ian Ayris’ brilliant debut Abide With Me.

Abide With Me is a remarkable novel. A novel with balls and brains and heart.

Johnny Sissons is a young boy from the East End of London. 

Johnny’s family are normal,very likeable and very close. And they are getting by as best they can in sometimes difficult times. 

Johnny, like his father, also has an exhilarating love of West Ham football club, a passion that runs through the novel like a heartbeat.

Johnny’s neighbour ,Kenny, however, doesn’t have such luck – his home-life his heartbreaking grim.

Abide With Me is about their friendship. About loyalty, family, poverty.

It’s about doing the right thing. 

And about making mistakes and facing up to them.

Abide With Me  is an incredibly involving book.As we watch Johnny and Kenny grow up and head toward a life of crime, like dishwater down a plughole, we are with them all the way. 

Ayris’ gripping, gritty, beautiful novel is full of warmth, wit, excitement, comedy and tragedy. An uncompromised chunk of social realism that is bound to be in lots of people’s ‘top tens’ at the end of the year.

And, Abide With Me is available from Amazon and Amazon UK and various other classy joints.

So, what are you waiting for?

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