Claude Cahun is the most important artist you've never heard of - until now. Writer, photographer, lesbian; revolutionary activist, surrealist, resistance fighter - Cahun witnessed the birth of the Paris avant-garde, lived through two World Wars and, as 'Der Soldat ohne Namen', risked death by inciting mutiny on Nazi-occupied Jersey. And yet, she's until recently been merely a peripheral figure in these world-shaping events, relegated by academics to the footnotes in the history of art, sexual politics and revolutionary movements of the last century.
Now more so than ever, Cahun demands a significant presence in the history of surrealism and the avant-garde - even, in the canon of early twentieth-century literature. Indeed her one major book, "Disavowals", is a masterpiece of anti-memoir writing. Much has been made of her as a photographer, but Claude Cahun 'the writer' was both radical and prescient. At a time when her star is rising like never before "Claude Cahun: The Soldier with No Name" represents the first explicit attempt in English to posit Cahun as an important figure in her own right, and to popularise one of the most influential artists of her generation.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Praise for Gavin James Bower's debut novel, Dazed & Aroused:
'Less Than Zero for the Off-Beat Generation'
'A writer with the ability to cut through the hype and reveal the dark heart of everyday life'
'A stunning debut novel'
Andrew Gallix, FLUX
Praise for Made in Britain:
'A poignant tale of the "feral underclass"...what makes the book special is its portrayal of the particular fates of three teenagers who stand for a generation while being utterly and completely themselves'
Jenn Ashworth, Guardian
'In a world of closed factories and stinking canals, of sex in the school loos, of knives and drugs and moral and economic disintegration, this novel could have been one enormous cliché. It isn’t, though. While not excusing, or attempting to excuse, its protagonists it does succeed in explaining and humanising them. A visceral look at modern society...it will haunt the reader'
'Our disgustingly out of touch prime minister would do well to read this shocking, heart-wrenching tale of no-hope in the recession hit, morally devalued North'
'A beautifully written story of post-industrial youth'
Owen Jones, author of CHAVS
'Drugs and sex and violence are simply something to pass the time with in places where manufacturing has died. This novel doesn’t shy away from the unpretty racial tension, either. It’s a lean book about having to survive but not quite letting your dreams go. Gavin James Bower evokes the escape exits from those post-industrial towns so well. Sadly for many they remain simply chemical'
'Thanks to the riots, you can't move for hapless explanations for disaffected teenagers. Bower knows what he's talking about. The dark young novelist is the writer pontificating politicians should have on the bedside table'
'Bloody, brutal and swift...like Brighton Rock with sexting'
'A subtle yet powerful insight into the type of youngsters society normally marginalises...there is an Orwellian anger about this book that makes it hard to put down' Huffington Post ~