A soulful tour de force of the world of coal miners in Yorkshire, a way of life like no other
In this psychologically astute novel set in the boisterous South Yorkshire mining town of Dinlock, Davie, a young miner, paints to ease the mental and physical pain of digging coal, on his knees, two thousand feet underground. Sigal creates through Davie a microcosmic portrait of this backbreaking work, performed by men dedicated to social change. In close detail, Sigal illustrates their daily routines and surprising complexity—from the mines to the pub and back home.
Weekend in Dinlock offers an immersive account of the brutal work these miners endure and their life-affirming, sometimes violent ways of relaxing. This intensely realistic account recalls George Orwell and is illuminated by Sigal’s ability to convey working-class wit and a sympathetic yet brutalizing milieu, placing the reader in the mind and soul of the coal miner.
Clancy Sigal was born and raised in Chicago, the son of two labor organizers. He enlisted in the army and, as a GI in occupied Germany, attended the Nuremberg war crimes trials intending to shoot Herman Göring. Although blacklisted and trailed by FBI agents, he began work as a Hollywood agent on the Sunset Strip, hiding in plain sight and representing Humphrey Bogart, among many others.
Sigal moved to London in the 1950s and stayed in the UK for thirty years, writing and broadcasting regularly from the same BBC studios that George Orwell had used. During the Vietnam War, he was the “stationmaster” of a London safe house for American GI deserters and draft dodgers. For several years, he collaborated with the radical “anti-psychiatrists” R. D. Laing and David Cooper, with whom he founded Kingsley Hall in London’s East End, a halfway house for so-called incurable cases.
Sigal’s most recent book was the memoir Black Sunset: Hollywood Sex, Lies, Glamour, Betrayal, and Raging Egos (Soft Skull Press, 2016).