Alma Cogan

Alma Cogan How does it feel to be never allowed to die In his classic debut novel Gordon Burn takes Britain s biggest selling vocalist of the s and turns her story into an equation of celebrity and murder F

  • Title: Alma Cogan
  • Author: Gordon Burn
  • ISBN: 9780571222841
  • Page: 464
  • Format: Paperback
  • How does it feel to be never allowed to die In his classic debut novel, Gordon Burn takes Britain s biggest selling vocalist of the 1950s and turns her story into an equation of celebrity and murder Fictional characters jostle for space with real life stars from John Lennon to Doris Day and Sammy Davis Jnr as Burn, in a breathtaking act of appropriation, reinvents thHow does it feel to be never allowed to die In his classic debut novel, Gordon Burn takes Britain s biggest selling vocalist of the 1950s and turns her story into an equation of celebrity and murder Fictional characters jostle for space with real life stars from John Lennon to Doris Day and Sammy Davis Jnr as Burn, in a breathtaking act of appropriation, reinvents the popular culture of the post war years As beautifully written as it is disturbing, Alma Cogan remains a stingingly relevant exploration of the sad, dark underside of fame An extraordinary, unprecedented novel Audacious, innovative and totally compelling William Boyd

    239 Comment

    • Susan says:

      This was Gordon Burn’s debut novel; released in 1991 it won the Whitbread Book Award. The novel is based upon a real character, the singer Alma Cogan, who was extremely successful in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Known as, “the girl with the giggle in her voice, “ Cogan was the highest paid British female entertainer in her heyday. In reality, Alma Cogan died in 1966 at the tragically young age of thirty four. However, this book takes as the premise that she did not die, but lived [...]

    • Nigeyb says:

      I've been meaning to try Gordon Burn for some time now. When I saw a tweet that the always wonderful Backlisted Podcast were going to be discussing 'Alma Cogan' (1991) in November 2017, it was the push that I needed. I'm delighted that I've finally got round to Gordon Burn. Despite the lack of a plot, 'Alma Cogan' is wonderfully compelling and an extraordinary work of fiction. I say fiction, whilst it's described as a novel it draws very heavily on real people and real events. It imagines how Al [...]

    • Paul Bryant says:

      This short but exhaustingly written novel is undoubtedly a considerable achievement but I wouldn't recommend it to you unless you're obsessive about British showbiz culture, fashion and interior decoration 1950-1965. And I guess it would help to be interested in Alma Cogan, because it's about her, I guess. That might be debatable. Alma was a flamboyant big-lunged Ethel Merman I-don't-need-a-microphone singer beloved by every old fart in Britain in the just before Elvis period (old farts could be [...]

    • Val says:

      Alma Cogan was a very big star in the fifties and early sixties. This book is an imagined memoir. The real singer died in 1966, but the author has her career fading and her then retiring to a country cottage. In her fifties there is a renewed interest in her from several sources, which leads Alma to look back at her life.It is very well done, with some light humour and good treatment of the ups and downs of celebrity. I don't know how true the character's thoughts would be to the real Alma's, bu [...]

    • Karen says:

      Taught in my term abroad Contemporary British Literature class by this total sex bomb late 90's English guy who said absurd, exasperated things like "The sun just reflects off the telly when I'm watching footballYOU call it soccer, love" and "I bet you grew up playing BASKETBALL, didn't you, Miss Corday?" I was in total baffled lust and he obviously had a weird American love/hate thing going on of which I should have taken advantage, but I "had a boyfriend." Of course, it turned out he was feeli [...]

    • Kelly Furniss says:

      This book is how they imagined a memoir would be if Alma Cogan the very successful singer of the 1950's -60's had lived longer and not died as she did at such a young age (34yrs old). If you have an interest in this age of pop music then I'm sure you would enjoy this book however I read it for my book club and found my mind wandering off but I did like some descriptions which set the scene well so you could imagine the time and place. I rated it a three out of five.

    • Steve Cripwell says:

      This is not for me. I tried it but I don't see where it's going. It merely seems like a trip into nostalgia. Some of the descriptions are excellent and I recall the era but only 2 stars for me.

    • sisterimapoet says:

      It's rare to find a book that does something utterly different from most novels. This is one such book.I knew nothing about Alma Cogan before I read this, she was little more than a name on my old music radar. I'm not sure I know much more about her now, in a truthful, biographical way, as that is not what this novel is about.Instead Burns uses Alma's eyes to see beyond the scope of her natural life, to give us an impression of fame and the culture of celebrity and notoriety from the 50's throug [...]

    • Rhonda says:

      I should've liked this more I expected to. There's some amazing writing in there, but I was just not convinced by the narrator's voice - did Alma Cogan herself think in such a literary way? And i found the overall plot and esp the denouement a bit 'so what'?

    • Derek Baldwin says:

      Very odd book which somehow juxtaposes the eponymous Miss Cogan with Myra Hindley in ways which I can't quite remember anymore! The author is nothing if not versatile, I remember for example reading a book about snooker he had written, and several others whose titles escape me now.

    • A Ivy says:

      Need to be listening to her while you read for the full experience.

    • Liz says:

      Fine descriptive writing. I think I'll see more on a second reading

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