Friday, 3 August 2007

“I took the Mersey Minis to the reading group I run in Hoylake Cottage hospital. There are about ten in the group, all elderly and most can no longer hold a book or see to read; so for the last 2 weeks I have read from the Minis. I can't tell you how much they have enjoyed it. We had lots of laughs and shared so many memories and everyone had a thoroughly good time.”
Dr Angela Macmillan

“Bursting with brilliant writing inspired by Liverpool and the River Mersey, the Mersey Minis are a great way to read about Liverpool, whether you live here or know someone who'd love one, far away – a lovely pressie.”

"The research in unearthing so many quotable quotes about Liverpool has been phenomenal."
Peter Elson, Liverpool Daily Post

"I was really impressed with the 'Mersey Minis' book..... it is a gem. It's quirky, charming and 'unputdownable'. The woodcuts by Clare Curtis compliment the book so well and give a sense of atmosphere and life to the text."
Tom Muir, Orkney Boat Museum

"Thanks for Mersey Minis. They are a valuable contribution to the body of Liverpool literature and I shall be thumbing through them for a long time to come. I loved them - lovely design, made very special by the illustrations. Price seemed accessibly right. You put a tremendous amount of work into sourcing a good variety of texts."
John Davies

"I was given your Vol I for a birthday present... the book is very handy for carrying around. I was at a really boring event the other night and was able to read it surreptitiously."
Stephen Guy, local historian

"Mersey Minis presents Liverpool in miniature. A wonderful composite of the city - lovely to hold, and a delight to read."
Margaret Murphy, crime novelist

"What a very stylish - and eminently ransackable - collection!"
Charles Nevin, journalist

"A wonderful idea and great choice of texts!"
Christoph Grunenberg, director, Tate Liverpool

"A beautifully produced and fascinating book."
Loyd Grossman

"Great idea, lovely wee books"
Dave Calder, poet and co-founder Windows Project

Deborah Mulhearn's introduction

Leaving is the fifth and final volume of the Mersey Minis series. The five volumes, Landing, Living, Longing, Loving and Leaving, together present an 800th anniversary anthology of writing about Liverpool from its muddy beginnings to its future dreams.
Leaving could have been filled with accounts of dock departures – millions sailed from Liverpool to a new life – but for the sake of variety I’ve broadened the theme to all modes of departure, with the Liverpool of imagination and memory as well as literal leavings included. As the Liverpool-born jazz singer George Melly put it, ‘The departure for the Sea of Dreams is from the Liverpool pierhead.’
From Pullitzer prize-winning authors to poor emigrants passing through Liverpool – and in some cases staying – these extracts are vivid and moving accounts of loss and exuberant reinvention.
Poorer travellers’ experiences contrast sharply with the comforts of the well heeled, the privations of the boarding house against the luxuries of the Adelphi. Some get glimpses into this gilded world, like the acerbic lady’s maid unimpressed by the hotel’s French menu.
Others left by road and rail. A famous poet takes the coach called the ‘Lousy Liverpool’ and is bitten by fleas and pickpockets; an early rail traveller is traumatised when an oncoming train rushes past (at 35 mph) on the adjacent track.
People are leaving home, leaving childhood, leaving for the suburbs, leaving the known, leaving life. A young boy, now a celebrated horror writer, sees ‘bird man’ Leo Valentin plummet to his death at Speke Airport in 1956. A freed slave is afraid to leave his ship.
Liverpool may have been merely a staging post for many, their last glimpse of England or Europe, but it’s a place imprinted on the minds and memories of millions.