Dancing With Mermaids by Miles Gibson. New York. 1986. Dutton. 196 pages. Jacket painting by Hilary Gibson. Jacket design by Mark O'Connor. 0525244441.


A lively tale of madness in a seaside English town.





   A rare gem that did not nearly the acclaim it should have at publication. Ray Bradbury called this 1985 novel, ‘Absolutely first rate. Absolutely wonderful’, when it was first published in 1985. And The New Yorker described it as ‘a wild, poetic exhalation that sparkles and hoots and flies’. Strange things and mysterious events are happening to the seashore rustics in the Dorset fishing town of Rams Horn, whose lives are dominated by lust and other dark forces they can’t quite comprehend.



Gibson MilesMiles Gibson (born 1947) is a reclusive English novelist, poet and artist. Gibson was born in a squatters camp at an abandoned World War II airbase - RAF Holmsley South in the New Forest and raised in Mudeford, Dorset. He was educated at Sandhills Infant School, Somerford Junior School and Somerford Secondary Modern. Upon leaving school he migrated to London and worked in advertising as a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson after winning a place in their ten most ingenious undergraduate writers in Britain today competition, despite lacking the primary qualification of a university education. He later flirted with Fleet Street as a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph Magazine under the brilliant editorship of John Anstey. He was the Telegraph's runner-up Young Writer of the Year, in 1969. Gibson’s darkly satirical writing has been described as both 'magic realism' and 'absurdist fiction.' Although his narratives remain linear in construction his employment of black humour, pastiche, and untrustworthy narrators[6] places him firmly among the postmodernists. When the Huffington Post ran a list of their favorite literary novelists to take the plunge into genre fiction, they included Gibson's Einstein: 'Miles Gibson, one of the very few British authors to successfully pen a magical realism novel based in the UK, is known for his toying with genre. Maybe his most notable genre piece came in 2004 with sci-fi comedy Einstein, one of the genre's forgotten treasures.' His works include two collections of poetry, The Guilty Bystander (1970) and Permanent Damage (1973), as well as the novels The Sandman (1984), Dancing with Mermaids (1985), Vinegar Soup (1987), Kingdom Swann (1990), Fascinated (1993), The Prisoner of Meadow Bank (1995), Mr Romance (2002)[8] and Einstein (2004). His works for children include Say Hello to the Buffalo, illustrated by Chris Riddell (1994), Little Archie (2004) and Whoops - There Goes Joe, illustrated by Neal Layton (2006). Kingdom Swann was adapted by David Nobbs as the feature-length comedy drama Gentlemen's Relish for BBC TV, starring Billy Connolly, Sarah Lancashire and Douglas Henshall (2001). He has written drama for BBC Radio 4 and his essays, poetry and short stories have appeared in various newspapers, journals and anthologies.






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