Alma Cogan was Britain's best-selling vocalist of the 1950s. In this novel the author becomes Alma Cogan. A blend of fact and fiction, the book reinvents the popular culture of the post-war years. This book is the winner of the 1991 Whitbread Prize for a first novel.
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Gordon Burn is the author of four novels, Alma Cogan (winner of the Whitbread First Novel Prize), Fullalove, The North of England Home Service and Born Yesterday. He is also the author of the non-fiction titles Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son, Pocket Money, Happy Like Murderers, On The Way to Work (with Damien Hirst) and Best and Edwards.From Kirkus Reviews:
Winner of Britain's 1991 Whitbread Award for a first novel: a fact/fiction pastiche, using the life of 1950's pop-singer Alma Cogan (1932-1966) as the springboard for an intriguing but less- than-satisfying meditation on celebrity. Most Americans have never heard of Cogan. But she was a super- celeb in pre-Beatles, glitzy-showbiz England, with hit versions of songs previously recorded by Teresa Brewer, Patti Page, and others. Here, UK journalist Burn imagines that Alma didn't die in 1966, that instead she's alive in 1986, delivering a rambling monologue about her past and present. Alma recalls her beginnings as the child of stage-struck immigrant-Jewish parents, her first successes in seedy British music-halls, her introduction to assorted backstage sordidness. She remembers her heyday as a beehived ``work of capacious and total artifice'': the smelly crowds of fame, the parties where her mother charmed Noel Coward, her palship with Sammy Davis (who looked ``imagineered, cuboid, like a Picasso painting or an Easter Island sculpture''), her brief encounters with Doris Day and the Queen. But she also recalls her rapid decline in the 1960's, and her 1969 decision--while playing ``an armpit of a club''--to retire to a quiet, boozy, non-celebrity existence. And now, in the present, Alma conducts a grim tour of her bygone fame. In a storage room at the Tate museum, there's a painting of her; at a theater museum, there are the garish gowns worn by a female-impersonator version of Alma; and, most creepily, there's a visit to her #1 fan--whose vast collection even includes obscene messages to Alma from various sickies. Burn brings energy, vivid detail, and sardonic wit to this odd fabrication. But Alma's voice--literary, arch--never rings true; no real person emerges. The insights about the dark side of celebrity are predictable. And Burn's attempt to link the murder of Alma's soul to actual murders (the Manson case, etc.) is terribly strained. In sum: sporadically arresting or amusing, ultimately thin and gimmicky. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Martin Secker and Warburg Ltd, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used; Very Good. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. Though second-hand, the book is still in very good shape. Minimal signs of usage may include very minor creasing on the cover or on the spine. Bookseller Inventory # CHL1812333
Book Description Hardback. Book Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Bookseller Inventory # GOR002034770
Book Description Hardback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # GOR003981985
Book Description Hardback. Book Condition: Fair. A readable copy of the book which may include some defects such as highlighting and notes. Cover and pages may be creased and show discolouration. Bookseller Inventory # GOR003991605
Book Description -. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Alma Cogan: A Novel This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780436200090
Book Description SECKER & WARBURG 1991, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Included. 1st Edition. 1st edition hardback with dustwrapper, no inscriptions, not price clipped, page edges slightly toned, dustwrapper has split down back, now neaty repaired with sellotape on reverse, clean, tight copy. Bookseller Inventory # 044860
Book Description Secker & Aarburg, London, 1991. Hardback. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. Reprint. With 210pp - very good dust wrapper - excellent condition - illustrated Size: 8vo. Bookseller Inventory # SC/1258
Book Description Secker & Warburg, London England, 1991. Softcover. Book Condition: Fair+. 1st Paperback Edition. If Gordon Burn had simply risked this much and failed, you'd have to love this dream memoir for its daring alone. But to have succeeded so brilliantly makes Alma Cogan a novel to treasure. As a dark meditation on fame and its undertow, as a dangerous and loving vision of post-war England, as a ruthless antidote to nostalgia, it's unlike anything I've ever read. (Michael Herr). Some creases on cover.(We carry a wide selection of titles in The Arts, Theology, History, Politics, Social and Physical Sciences. academic and scholarly books and Modern First Editions etc.) Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 010355
Book Description Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. 0436200090. Bookseller Inventory # N0045785
Book Description Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. 0436200090 UK BASED SELLER SHIPS DAILY ALL OVERSEAS VIA AIRMAIL, with dj. Bookseller Inventory # AAA0007424