Niall Griffiths - A Great Big Shining Star (4 stars)

Niall Griffiths - A Great Big Shining Star

Griffiths' social drama about youthful obsession with celebrity is a brutal and barbarous pleasure

As some of the architects of the British micro-celebrity explosion come under the scrutiny of the Savile inquiry, Niall Griffiths deconstructs the life of someone who yearns to live her life in the pages of Heat and Nuts. Grace wants to leave her small Welsh seaside town behind and join the parade of Chantelles in the city. Armed with a little surgery, body dysmorphia and a desire for adoration and fame, she begins her societal ascent. But someone is watching. Someone who can remember her when she was a sweet and innocent rural schoolgirl.

With his heightened style, strong grasp of north-west English and Welsh vernaculars and delight in nature’s distractions, Griffiths is always a brutal and barbarous pleasure to read. Few authors capture youthful vacuity and obsession better and A Great Big Shining Star is of a narrative trajectory with his previous novels (one of which, Kelly + Victor, has just been adapted for screen). Structurally the novel is seasonally maladjusted, while politically and creatively, it’s a call to arms.

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