Home LifestyleCathi Unsworth on Gerald Kersh: ‘Crackling with neon, lipstick, sweat and fear… master of the night’
Cathi Unsworth on Gerald Kersh: ‘Crackling with neon, lipstick, sweat and fear… master of the night’

Cathi Unsworth on Gerald Kersh: ‘Crackling with neon, lipstick, sweat and fear… master of the night’

As we have been celebrating recently, Finds has just reissued six titles – four novels, two collections of stories – by Gerald Kersh. And now we’ve just received this kind endorsement for our editions exclusively from the celebrated contemporary noir novelist Cathi Unsworth.

Cathi’s most recent novel (her fourth), Weirdo, was hailed by Doug Johnstone in the Independent as ‘her finest work yet’ and ‘an outstanding addition to the British crime-writing scene.’ Johnstone also hymned ‘her ability to evoke a specific time and place with an intense and visceral skill.’

Cathi is a vociferous admirer of Kersh’s work and we’re pleased to set down her thoughts on the great man as follows:

“It was Derek Raymond who first told me about Gerald Kersh and how he considered him to be the master chronicler of London’s lowlife. It took me a long time to track him down, his lost prints were even harder to lift from the second hand shops of the Nineties than those of Raymond’s other forgotten forebear, Patrick Hamilton. But boy, was it worth the rummage.

With Kersh it is not just the authenticity of the characters – the spivvy chancers with faux American gangster accents; the sweaty, sexually twisted killers lurking in the bombsites for stray children to pass; and the weary working girls who have to put up with men like these. It is the hyper-sensitised way in which he tells their stories, the prose so crackling with neon, lipstick, sweat and fear that it feels almost hallucinatory.

With a peerless eye for human weakness and a feeling for the city that renders his ever-descending London a character – paranoid, alluring, treacherous, lascivious – in its own sprawling right, Kersh is indeed the master of both the city and the night.”