Ten Storey Love Song is an utterly unique and arresting sophomore novel from Richard Milward, the author of Apples, the sensational bestselling UK debut of 2007. Spanning one dynamite paragraph, Ten Storey Love Song follows Bobby the Artist’s rise to stardom, offering a cutting and charismatic portrait of a deeply dysfunctional, creative, and drug-sodden world, delivered with great beauty and abandon by “a novelist of great emotional power and deft skill.” (Irvine Welsh)
A blistering, nearly stream-of-consciousness novel about the lives and loves of a group of misfits living in a British council estate, Milward's sophomore effort (after Apples) is a collage of druggy, grungy indulgences that is unexpectedly touching. Bobby the Artist paints bright, primitive canvases while tripping on acid. Georgie, his girlfriend and muse, is devoted to Bobby, but terrified of his lifestyle. Johnnie, the local drug dealer, has a hardcore pornography habit that's left him unable to satisfy the more gentle needs of his beautiful girlfriend, Ellen. Then there's middle-aged Allen Blunt, who spends a disturbing amount of time hanging around a local primary school. After Bobby's art is discovered and he begins a meteoric ride through the art world, Johnnie and Ellen forge a more profound bond, and Allen's life disintegrates after a run of bad (and violent) decisions. The narrative moves at a breakneck pace (the book is one very long paragraph), cleverly moving between characters and finding the right moments to pause for the rare tender moment. It's a high-wire act on a par with the better Irvine Welsh books.