‘With this book Guy made me laugh, he made me cry some tears. Once I started reading, I could not stop. I wanted to know more. If I have
a criticism to make is that I wish the book were longer. I found the book of outstanding quality.'
The Huffington Post
With An Honest Deceit, Guy Mankowski has invented a new sub-genre in crime fiction. This novel would satisfy even the most discerning
reader. I was hooked. I loved it.
Ruth Dugdall, bestselling author of The Sacrificial Man
A mesmerising observation of speaking truth to power. Mankowski writes characters that are painfully human and fallible.
I finished it in one night.
Hanna Jameson, author of The London Underground series
'A gripping contemporary thriller. Mankowski's training as a psychologist draws out a taut storyline, full of razor sharp prose and
trickery around every corner. A thrilling and intelligent read.'
'Anyone who remembers Melody Maker, or who attended indie nights in clubs strewn with Snakebite, will fall in love with this book immediately.
Mankowski captures brilliantly the psychology of ‘fan obsession'. Those of us who marvelled at ‘The Secret History' or ‘A Passage To India' are
sure to find it enthralling.'
Matthew Phillips, blogger for The Huffington Post
'Already recognised as a major rising talent, Mankowski here establishes himself as a significant voice in British fiction
with a novel that will raise knowing smiles from the rock cognoscenti, plaudits from literary critics, and will captivate readers
everywhere. This is clearly a writer of great talent.'
Andrew Crumey, author of Pfitz and Sputnik Caledonia, longlisted for The Man Booker Prize
'This book is the epitome of cool. A cross between Twenty Four Hour Party people and Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers, written by Julian Barnes.
It contains a narrative as spiky as a punk set, a whole symphony of ideas composed by Mankowski within a few subtle bars of text. A brilliantly
written literary treat.'
AJ Kirby, reviewer for The New York Journal of Books'
'Guy Mankowski's latest novel, How I Left The National Grid, showcases the rich research, scintillating prose, and psychological depth
that characterised his earlier books. Here, though, those qualities are used to bring to life a potent and still vital place and time in
British culture: post-punk Manchester. Set in the present, but reflecting on the past, How I Left The National Grid reveals that so much of
where we are now grew from who we were then. Flashbacks and corrupt memories flesh out the ambitions of a band formed in those past moments,
in vivid, haunting, and haunted scenes. But readers can also experience the thrill of the chase to find people who do not want to be found
in the present. In doing so, we are forced to ask: what becomes of our dreams? Mankowski's original and captivating alternative history depicts
the conflicted start of a turbulent era when we were told there was ‘no alternative', and thereby perhaps sketches a different landscape for the future.'
Dr. Adam Hansen, editor of 'Litpop: Writing and Popular Music' and author of ‘Shakespeare and Popular Music'
'Mankowski creates a very convincing band and history. The novel has a lot of classic story lines- the search for the missing hero, the last
chance at dreams and ideals, the tension between a 'real' job and an artistic life- along with a thriller element. It's funny too, at times
I laughed out loud. With the character of Robert Wardner I felt he was channeling Richey Edwards, Mark E Smith and Ian Curtis simultaneously.
Very powerful. There's so much about this book that people would enjoy. I really enjoyed it.'
Lyn Lockwood, Chief Examiner for A Level Creative Writing, AQA
'The National Grid’s rise via Robert Wardner’s own inner narrative, beginning with their champing-at-the-bit Top of the Pops appearance in 1981
(which includes some hilarious Julio Iglesias baiting) through to disaffection and disappearance... and beyond. If there’s a third key character,
it’s the band as a collective entity; Mankowski’s descriptions of gigs and recording sessions hint at the way a group becomes an organism with its
own needs and desires – urges that spring from, but exist independently of, the individual musicians. The band is the means of expression of a sound,
and once that sound takes on a life of its own, the band members must run with it or fall by the wayside. We also experience the shock of the city.
It's thrilling: hectic and surging,
I found I was reading the novel through a phantom cloud of Insette hair spray, hearing the music through remembered arcs of darkly gothic feedback. Via these means, I was able to bring the magic of memory to bear on The National Grid’s journey through the eighties, creating some vivid mental gig-scapes of my own.'
Damon Fairclough, Louder Than War
'Some of the descriptions of the feelings and anxieties (and egotism) of being on stage are unbelievably spot on'
Kingsley Chapman, singer of post-punk band The Chapman Family, Narc Magazine
‘Unfolding through the letters between a Ukrainian dancer and her lover, the novel explores art and how people use it in their
lives to complex and compelling effect.'
'From his time working at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg as well as having access to the Vaganova Ballet Academy,
Guy Mankowski has written a truly wonderful epistolary novel. It has shades of The Red Shoes and The Black Swan, with its dark
thematic intensity of child abuse leading the main protagonist Yelena into self-harming, and ultimately suffering mental health problems.'
New Books Magazine
‘A beautifully written story with convincing characters and a good if sometimes heart-breaking plot. Overall, a great novel from
‘This epistolary novel takes the always present fascination with the torments of ballet dancers and adds a romantic twist.
Mankowski brings every bruises foot and strained limb to life.'
The Simple Things magazine
‘It's unusual to find a young male writer who can write with such sensitivity and maturity. Guy Mankowski's portrayal of the
ballerina Yelena is wholly convincing, taking us inside her thoughts and feelings as she describes the course of her life, from
harrowing childhood to professional success, punctuated with turbulent emotional crisis. This is clearly a writer of great talent.'
Andrew Crumey, Longlisted for The Man Booker Prize
‘Letters from Yelena' is a fantastic literary achievement, instantly setting aside any concerns over a difficult second novel
for this immensely talented north east author. Following on from his excellent debut, The Intimates, this novel is an intimate character
study of a highly skilled, yet psychologically scarred ballerina, told in epistolary form. The epistolary form is often seen as a rather
old-fashioned literary device, but here, Mankowski breathes new life into it, creating a captivating, engaging narrative which plucks at
our heart-strings. It's clear that the novel has been excellently researched Mankowski was awarded a grant by the Arts Council to visit
the world-famous ballet school in St Petersburg and, in his acknowledgements, he also states he has spent a great deal of time with dancers
from a school in the north east of England but this is far more than simply an information-dump. There is a real, honest-to-goodness story here.
And the way Mankowski tells it? Astounding. The characters are delicately described. The atmosphere created is tangible. The language pirouettes,
spins, soars: some of the imagery is simply brilliant. More: the comparisons between dancing and writing are great.
A J Kirby, reviewer for The New York Journal Of Books
‘I felt I was watching a ballet in a darkened theatre, unable to look away until the story had unfolded, so beautifully, before my eyes.
From opening this book on Thursday I was unable to put it down until I had finished it. More than that, I was talking about it through dinner,
and thinking about it too. It is wonderfully written, and I was fascinated by the world of the ballet'.
Bestselling author Ruth Dugdall
‘I finished Letters from Yelena in two sittings. The mental and physical strain of the professional ballet artist is almost tangible.
Mankowski creates a bleak and isolated landscape, where aspiration and ambition can be crushed under the sheer weight of their own internal
pressure. 'Yelena' has more emotional and intellectual depth in a chapter than the entirety of The Black Swan. Instead it harks back to
something like the visual masterpiece of The Red Shoes; romantic, dark, uncompromising, and beautiful. I defy any woman, and any dancer,
to not see parts of themselves in Yelena. Exceptionally talented. Thank God you don't write crime/thrillers or I'd be bitter and jealous.'
Hanna Jameson, CWA shortlisted author of Something You Are and Girl Seven
'A clever conceit and a compelling narrative.'
Edward Stourton, BBC Radio 4
'An intoxicating story of a dinner party between old friends set in a glamorous, affluent world that seems to be decaying from within.
Rich with thoughtful, self-analyzing dialogue, The Intimates is crying out for dramatization.'
`The Intimates manages that all too rare feat of being a deeply psychological character study whilst at the same time playing out as a
bonafide page-turner. Excellently paced, insightfully created, and with moments of genuine genius, The Intimates is an opulently written,
high concept piece which explores the psychology of human relationships. Mankowski has a timeless style- highly polished and brilliantly
A.J. Kirby reviewer for The New York Journal of Books
‘An intricately wrought and enchanting first novel, The Intimates is a measured, literary piece of work as hauntingly evocative of its
setting and characters as Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer prize winner Housekeeping.'
Abigail Tarttelin, author of ‘Golden Boy’
'From one of the most exciting young authors on the literary scene, this is a fascinating debut novel where love, ambition and jealousy
collide. Described as 'the modern Great Gatsby', this is a glamorous read for the train journey to work.'
'Mankowski's ability to construct and develop his characters is formidable and the execution of this skill adds to the compelling nature of the
book. The reader is taken on a journey through a vast array of intensive and moving experiences. Fascinating and compelling, 'The Intimates' is
a deep and challenging book. Definitely worth a read.'
The View From Here
Review in 'The View From Here'
Coverage Page at Rookie Magazine