The great novels of the northern, working-class male experience were written in one decade-long span that ended with Barry Hines’ A Kestrel for a Knave in 1968. Paul Sayer wonders if that was really that. Could such novels still be written today? By a northern man from the succeeding, relatively comfortable generation?
Timothy Leary considered Herman Hesse to be the ‘master guide’ to the hallucinatory experience; at 19, Paul Sayer, obsessed with Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf, agreed. It sent him on an acid fuelled odyssey to find his inner self that left him boggle-eyed, clinging to the tower of York Minster.