Anthony Cartwright - How I Killed Margaret Thatcher
Political statement disguised as kitchen sink drama from the author of Heartland
Political statement disguised as kitchen sink drama, Anthony Cartwright’s third novel sees him return to the Black Country region of Cinderheath last seen in Heartland, 2009’s exploration of the BNP. Except this time the clock has been wound back more than 30 years to the dawn of the Thatcher era, eloquently painting a first-hand picture of the times and of their effect upon a northern industrial community from the unvarnished but all-observing point of view of nine-year-old Sean.
A low-key but quietly impressive novel redolent of a more tender David Peace, it doesn’t trade in shock value so much as a richly observed sense of place and time, all conveyed in a bold first-person flashback from Shaun.
The slightly hurried finale on Brighton beach on the same day as the bombing in 1984 is heavily reminiscent of both Quadrophenia and Grant Morrison/Paul Grist’s similarly-themed short graphic novel St Swithin’s Day. But Cartwright still articulates the sense of deep alienation that Thatcher’s strident dogma exposed in those who felt excluded by it.