Helen Mort’s “Black Car Burning” is, quite simply, a remarkable book. Rarely do you come across a novel that is so rooted in place. The work of Joyce, Forster’s “A Passage to India”…
Sheffield permeates “Black Car Burning”. It is a character in it’s own right – quite literally. And it seeps into every page. It is the thing that links the characters, ties them together as much as as their climbing ropes do.
Yes, the book is about climbing, about the Hillsborough disaster, about love, relationships, sexuality, loss, desire, fallibility – but Mort’s Sheffield runs through them as much as the Don runs through the city.
A little way into the book I wondered if Mort hadn’t over-done it, if there wasn’t too much climbing, or too much Sheffield. Towards the end, I wondered if the way the threads of the novel – the other characters – had been brought together wasn’t just a little too neat… And then I realised that it didn’t matter, even if this was the case.
Because “Black Car Burning” is a superb book. Read it.