Psychomachia by Kirsty Allison

Publisher: Wrecking Ball Press, 2021
Format: Hardback
Edition: First
Pages: 272
ISBN: 978-1903110751

Psychomachia reads like an NA meeting with Donna Tartt, Joan Didion, DBC Pierre, James Frey, Angela Carter, Reinaldo Arenas, Virginia Despentes and JT Leroy battling their collective consciousness. Literature like this is usually presented through the male gaze, hence the fashion and rock n roll literati naming Kirsty Allison London’s finest.

She’s hilarious – she’s f*cked up. Scarlet Flagg is so wasted, she doesn’t know if she killed the arch patriarch of rock n roll, Malachi Wright of Wright States International Touring after he her at a festival at 14. Scarlet is the kinda girl you wanna help, f*ck, and leave. But is she dangerous? Did she murder Malachi or was it her boyfriend, Iggy Papershoes, frontman of Heroshima? Or perhaps her drug-dealing father? Scarlet doesn’t remember – she hardly remembers her own name.

This is brutal female drug-lit at its finest. The first novel of the real nineties, Scarlet is an unreliable narrator of epic fin-de-millennia proportions floating in a Shoreditch-warehouse haze. Her fast moving chronicle of the secret drug-filled, love starved, sex satiated-nightmare world of East End fashion, art and music afterparties is set in an era before MeToo, when stigmas meant keeping schtum, and getting in with the male-dominated in-crowd relied on copious amounts of class-As. Like Jean Genet in a prison cell, without camera phones, social media or mental health awareness, Scarlet searches for redemption in the pursuit of revenge through blurred lines in Ibiza, Paris, London and New York.


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