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The Colour of Memoryby Geoff Dyer
Synopses & Reviews
The first novel, in revised form, from “possibly the best living writer in Britain” (The Daily Telegraph)
In The Colour of Memory, six friends plot a nomadic course through their mid-twenties as they scratch out an existence in near-destitute conditions in 1980s South London. They while away their hours drinking cheap beer, landing jobs and quickly squandering them, smoking weed, dodging muggings, listening to Coltrane, finding and losing a facsimile of love, collecting unemployment, and discussing politics in the way of the besotted young — as if they were employed only by the lives they chose.
In his vivid evocation of council flats and pubs, of a life lived in the teeth of romantic ideals, Geoff Dyer provides a shockingly relevant snapshot of a different Lost Generation.
"Dyer's first novel, originally published in his native U.K. in 1989 and slightly revised for its 2014 U.S. release, is a fictional memoir that doubles as a portrait of bohemian life in gritty 1980s South London. The unnamed narrator is an intelligent but aimless man in his 20s. Rather than pursuing steady employment, he prefers to take the occasional odd job and spend most of his time conversing with friends: his workmate Carlton, the painter Steranko, pseudo-writer Freddie, the aspiring rapper Belinda, and his clumsy sister Fran. Whether bar- or cafe-hopping around Brixton, playing squash, or smoking put on rooftops, the friends frequently exchange complaints about their 'piss-bin country,' with its unbearable living conditions and imminent confrontations (the threat of mugging and violence always looms). Paradoxically, the narrator and his friends depend on the government's benefit programs to support their jazzy lifestyles. Like its subjects, the book is sharp and witty, but it lacks a plot or plan — particularly in the second half, which consists largely of a series of lyrical vignettes, urban sketches, and conversations that evoke the poignant mood of 1980s Brixton. At times the story feels a bit jumbled and arbitrarily strung together. Still, fans will enjoy reading about the characters' obsessions (such as jazz, film, and photography), as well as Dyer's thoughtful and absorbing digressions, which are further engaged and explored in the author's later works." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Of all the hyped novels of 1980s London, it remains one of the most genuine.” New Statesman
“Dyer writes crisp, Martin Amis-inflected prose, full of acute perceptions and neat phrases....The book abounds in colourful descriptions of familiar aspects of London life.” The Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Geoff Dyer is the author of Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi and three previous novels, as well as nine nonfiction books. He won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2012 for Otherwise Known as the Human Condition. He lives in London.
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