Recommended Reads: Abide With Me and April Skies by Ian Ayris.

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, Jim Thompson and Charles Wilford.  This, of course, is a very good thing.

With British fiction, perhaps because of the yoke of the class system and prissy academia, that doesn’t seem to happen so much. But within the recent 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 and Derek Raymond. This, of course, is a very good thing.

Which brings me to Ian Ayris’ brilliant John Sissons novels, Abide With Me and April Skies. These are books with balls and brains and heart.

In Abide With Me – set in 1975Johnny 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, has an exhilarating love of West Ham football club, a passion that beats throughout the novel like a heartbeat.

Johnny’s neighbour, Kenny, however, doesn’t have such luck – his home-life his heartbreakingly grim. Abide With Me is a book about their friendship. About loyalty, family, poverty. It’s about doing the right thing. And about making mistakes and facing up to them.

It 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,

Its sequel, April Skies, is set in ’90s London. John Sissons is out of the slammer and trying to get by, working at a market stall. When he loses his job, he gets a job at a door production factory and his luck starts to change. But is it for the better? April Skies is marvellous. Full of realistic, well-drawn characters, great dialogue, sharp twists and turns, and with a strong sense of place and time. Nerve-wracking and heart-breaking, tense and touching – April Skies is a Brit Grit classic.

Both books are now available in various formats from Fahrenheit Press.

Ian Ayris books

True Brit Grit eBook only 99p/ 99c!

true brit gritTRUE BRIT GRIT.

Edited by Paul D. Brazill and Luca Veste. Introduction by Maxim Jakubowski.

The Line Up:

1. Two Fingers of Noir by Alan Griffiths
2. Eat Shit by Tony Black
3. Baby Face And Irn Bru by Allan Guthrie
4. Pretty Hot T’Ing by Adrian Magson
5. Black Betty by Sheila Quigley
6. Payback: With Interest by Matt Hilton
7. Looking for Jamie by Iain Rowan
8. Stones in Me Pocket by Nigel Bird
9. The Catch and The Fall by Luke Block
10. A Long Time Coming by Paul Grzegorzek
11. Loose Ends by Gary Dobbs
12. Graduation Day by Malcolm Holt
13. Cry Baby by Victoria Watson
14. The Savage World of Men by Richard Godwin
15. Hard Boiled Poem (a mystery) by Alan Savage
16. A Dirty Job by Sue Harding
17. Stay Free by Nick Quantrill
18. The Best Days of My Life by Steven Porter
19. Hanging Stanley by Jason Michel
20. The Wrong Place to Die by Nick Triplow
21. Coffin Boy by Nick Mott
22. Meat Is Murder by Colin Graham
23. Adult Education by Graham Smith
24. A Public Service by Col Bury
25. Hero by Pete Sortwell
26. Snapshots by Paul D Brazill
27. Smoked by Luca Veste
28. Geraldine by Andy Rivers
29. A Minimum of Reason by Nick Boldock
30. Dope on a Rope by Darren Sant
31. A Speck of Dust by David Barber
32. Hard Times by Ian Ayris
33. Never Ending by McDroll
34. Imagining by Ben Cheetham
35. Escalator by Jim Hilton
36. Faces by Frank Duffy
37. A Day In The Death Of Stafford Plank by Stuart Ayris
38. The Plebitarian by Danny Hogan
39. King Edward by Gerard Brennan
40. This Is Glasgow by Steven Miscandlon
41. Brit Grit by Charlie Wade
42. Five Bags Of Billy by Charlie Williams
43. It Could Be You by Julie Morrigan
44. No Shortcuts by Howard Linskey
45. The Great Pretender by Ray Banks

45 British writers, 45 short stories. All coming together to produce an anthology, benefiting two charities…

Children 1st – http://www.children1st.org.uk/ and Francesca Bimpson Foundation – http://www.francescabimpsonfoundation.org

“The BRIT GRIT mob is coming to kick down your door with hobnailed boots. Kitchen-sink noir; petty-thief-louts; lives of quiet desperation; sharp, blood-stained slices of life; booze-sodden brawls from the bottom of the barrel and comedy that’s as black as it’s bitter—this is TRUE BRIT GRIT!”

The eBook is now only 99p/ 99c!