Morrissey‘s debut novel List of the Lost arrives on U.K. bookshelves today, and the singer released a statement to his unofficial website/official mouthpiece True To You explaining the book’s themes. The 128-page novel, which comes nearly two years after Morrissey’s explosive Autobiography, is rooted in the horror genre, with the plot focusing on a relay track team in Seventies America that is killed off one member at a time after encountering the devil incarnate.
“The theme is demonology … the left-handed path of black magic. It is about a sports relay team in 1970s America who accidentally kill a wretch who, in esoteric language, might be known as a Fetch … a discarnate entity in physical form,” Morrissey wrote. “He appears, though, as an omen of the immediate deaths of each member of the relay team. He is a life force of a devil incarnate, yet in his astral shell he is one phase removed from life. The wretch begins a banishing ritual of the four main characters, and therefore his own death at the beginning of the book is illusory.”
Early reviews of List of the Lost are popping up across the U.K., and the reception is more Kill Uncle than The Queen Is Dead. In The Guardian‘s savaging critique of the “not very good” novel, Morrissey’s dialogue, heavy-handedness and lack of knowledge about the sport focal to the plot are all denigrated.
“It appears to be unedited, the curse of the writer whose commercial clout is stronger than their publisher’s willpower,” The Guardian‘s Michael Hann wrote. “It’s not just the typos and grammatical errors – of which there are plenty – but the endless digressions, the inability to come to any sort of a point. There might be a tolerable 20-page short story nestling in here somewhere (there probably isn’t, but let’s be generous for a moment), but no editor has been allowed to search for it.”
Hann added, “It is an unpolished turd of a book, the stale excrement of Morrissey’s imagination.”
In an earlier statement to Penguin, List of the Lost‘s publisher, Morrissey said, “Beware the novelist…intimate and indiscreet … pompous, prophetic airs … here is the fact of fiction … an American tale where, naturally, evil conquers good, and none live happily ever after, for the complicated pangs of the empty experiences of flesh-and-blood human figures are the reason why nothing can ever be enough. To read a book is to let a root sink down. List of the Lost is the reality of what is true battling against what is permitted to be true.”