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Sinclair, Iain

london history

(British, 1943– )

Sinclair was born in Cardiff and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. From the 1960s onwards he has lived in London, the legends, history, and topography of which pervade much of his writing. Sinclair describes his work as ‘baroque realism’ for its complex and suggestive interplay between the past and the present. Lud Heat (1975) explores the history of the eight east London churches of the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor and how they seem to be connected by a network of ley lines. Radon Daughters (1994) portrays a one-legged author of a single novel eking out a sordid existence in an abandoned building in Wapping, and taking his only pleasures from his fantastical relationship with a television weather-girl and his addictive fixes of radiation bought from an engineer in a London hospital. White Chapel, Scarlet Tracings (1997) combines a sort of spiritual inquest or seance into the Whitechapel Ripper murders with the pursuit by seedy book-dealers of rarities of that period.

Peter Ackroyd, Charles Dickens.


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