Portrait of an artistic provocateur: Blue Ruin, by Hari Kunzru, reviewed

Whatever happened to the likely lads and lasses of the East London art scene at the high noon of Cool Britannia? Hari Kunzru’s seventh novel, Blue Ruin, loads much else on to its ideas-rich plate – not least a pandemic yarn set in the panic-stricken spring of 2020. At its core, however, his plot traces contrasting afterlives from the Sensation generation. It reconnects three survivors – two male artists and the woman both loved – from a time when making conceptual art could feel like ‘a kind of social repair’, even a ‘utopian laboratory’. In his earlier career, Kunzru himself seemed to belong in a gilded group of younger British