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White Noise Ballrooms

Stephen Barber

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Picture a lost city in northern England during the momentous winter of 1978—the final winter before the onset of the Thatcher era, at the peak of the punk rock movement. A notorious serial killer—the Yorkshire Ripper—terrorizes the city’s women, unhindered by an aimless police force. Violent outbursts of gang warfare transect the city’s streets while an immense insane asylum overlooks the chaos from the outskirts.

This innovative and disturbing novel follows a group of teens as they engulf themselves in punk-rock cacophonies and the accompanying riots that erupt in the city’s decrepit hotel ballrooms and subterranean nightclubs. Written in a captivating, immersive first-person voice that meshes raw corporeality and urban insurgency,
White Noise Ballrooms deploys recent history to piercingly illuminate the contemporary moment.

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