Friday, June 19, 2009

Iain Sinclair on Peter Ackroyd

In the new London Review of Books Iain Sinclair reviews Peter Ackroyd's book Thames: Sacred River:

Peter Ackroyd begins at source, the first trickle, Cotswold springs. He opens with a Gradgrinding deluge of facts: length, comparison with other rivers, number of bridges, average flow, velocity of current. Then moves rapidly to ‘river as metaphor’. So that the two tendencies, the empirical and the poetic, coexist, informing and challenging each other, striking examples found to confirm flights of fancy.

And all the time he is walking, from limestone causeway to salt marshes, but keeping the accidents and epiphanies of these private excursions out of his narrative.

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