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The Colour of Memory: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Geoff Dyer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $6.01 (38%)
Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

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.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"Like its subjects, the book is sharp and witty. . . . [Dyer] fans will enjoy reading about the characters’ obsessions (such as jazz, film, and photography), as well as Dyer’s thoughtful and absorbing digressions." —Publishers Weekly

“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
 
"The great thing about [The Colour of Memory] is its tone, which is neither snide nor wistful, but sharply contemplative, with the typical (and typically pleasing) Dyer humor underlying it all." —The Threepenny Review 

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 502 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (May 20, 2014)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GQ606DS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,853 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Remains of our Hopes: Colour of Memory August 20, 2000
Format:Paperback
Geoff Dyer's The Colour Of Memory is an amazingly well-written first novel novel, perhaps more so for how it is written than for what actually takes place on the pages-more about this a bit later. The narrator of Colour Of Memory, plus five or six close friends are all young, university-educated and living a near-impoverished existence in a series of barely inhabitable South London, Council flats.
In Colour Of Memory, Dyer describes in beautifully vivid detail a series of intimate snapshots of life lived day to day on the margins of Thatcher's Britain in the mid-1980's. The novel begins with a kind of lost generation, Hemingway-esque line: "In August it rained all the time-heavy, corrosive rain from which only nettles and rusty metal derived refreshment". From this line onward, the tone is set with the narrator losing his low-paying, unengaging, government-sponsored job as well as being evicted from his Brixton apatment. Narrator and friends are all portrayed by the author with a wistful, near-biographical approach. Discussing the Darwinist, capitalist landscape of Tory-dominated Britain, listening to Maria Callas on a cloudy afternoon, arguing the merits of John Coltrane's sixties-era recordings, smoking strong dope on the roof of the narrator's flat, attending parties in dangerous neighborhoods and just scraping by while trying to nurture their separate, artistic ambitions. Without question, the characters of Colour Of Memory, narrator included, are all 1980's beatniks of one kind or another and the novel makes clear how quixotic a life this really is- living in a society and an atmosphere that values financial prowess and ordinary survival skills over creativity of any variety.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Other View May 4, 2000
By Le Noir
Format:Paperback
What can you say of a book that starts with the line - "In August, it rained all the time."? Literary connotations of rain, as in Hemingway's 'A Farewell to Arms' immediately come to mind. It is safe to assume that Dyer is well aware of the build-up he is creating - indeed he draws on Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises) later in his book when one of his characters says "We are all a lost generation".
Within the first few pages after this remarkable line, the protagonist is thrown out of his 'rented' house, loses his job, and soon has his car stolen. In other words he is set up for re-entering the 'other life'. Through him, Dyer leads us into the 'other world', the 'other view' of life.
In a high-pitched discussion at a drunk party, one of his main characters, Steranko, makes a crisp speech about how he is involved in some of the most important political work of his time- "I don't eat at McDonalds.., I don't see [s**t] films, if someone is reading a tabloid-I try to make sure that I don't see it.., when people talk of house prices, I don't listen...!". This aversion to mass activities and interests is the underlying theme of the book.
The small group of friends that 'rides together' in Brixton is in a world of its own. They think their own thoughts, discuss the most important and most trivial issues of life amongst themselves,and play their own invented card games. Their perspective on life, though impractical at times, is fresh and often throws insights into life that 'normal' people 'who buy houses' miss.
Dyer's excellence at his craft keeps the book rolling at a perfect pace without any overt plot, moving from one snapshot of the city's life in the 1980s to another.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The other view May 2, 2000
By Le Noir
Format:Hardcover
What can you say of a book that starts with the line - "In August, it rained all the time."?
Literary connotations of rain, as in Hemingway's 'A Farewell to Arms' immediately come to mind. It is safe to assume that Dyer is well aware of the build-up he is creating - indeed he draws on Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises) later in his book when one of his characters says "We are all a lost generation".
Within the first few pages after this remarkable line, the protagonist is thrown out of his 'rented' house, loses his job, and soon has his car stolen. In other words he is set up for re-entering the 'other life'. Through him, Dyer leads us into the 'other world', the 'other view' of life.
In a high-pitched discussion at a drunk party, one of his main characters, Steranko, makes a crisp speech about how he is involved in some of the most important political work of his time- "I don't eat at McDonalds.., I don't see [s**t] films, if someone is reading a tabloid-I try to make sure that I don't see it.., when people talk of house prices, I don't listen...!". This aversion to mass activities and interests is the underlying theme of the book.
The small group of friends that 'rides together' in Brixton is in a world of its own. They think their own thoughts, discuss the most important and most trivial issues of life amongst themselves,and play their own invented card games. Their perspective on life, though impractical at times, is fresh and often throws insights into life that 'normal' people 'who buy houses' miss.
Dyer's excellence at his craft keeps the book rolling at a perfect pace without any overt plot, moving from one snapshot of the city's life in the 1980s to another.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I didn't like it much and found it too light.
Published 3 months ago by Mad4books
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Nicely written. Poetic sketches that are superficially banal but are with flashes of beauty.
Published 7 months ago by anon1234
4.0 out of 5 stars He nails the Thatcher years -- thoroughly engrossing!
I confess at first that the reason I read this book is that I lived in the same area of London during the same period the book covers. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Charles Hargreaves
3.0 out of 5 stars 1980s Brixton is Delightful
I love Geoff Dyer's voice (and I recommend his ANOTHER GREAT DAY AT SEA), and so there are stretches here that are delightful. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Robert Jacklosky
2.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Everyman in London!
This first book by Geoff Dyer, is of an unemployable young man with no ambition, no interest in working, content to take the dole and public housing then spend his life drinking... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Manaus
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fun They Had
Do read this very welcome reprint--25 years later--of Geoff Dyer's first novel, crammed with detail of the youthful Bohemian life in Brixton (South London). Read more
Published 14 months ago by Thomas Dunn
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovingly Constructed
Geoff Dyer's first novel begins like a first novel and develops into an accomplished work in its own right as the story progresses. Read more
Published on September 10, 2001 by E. Filson
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More About the Author

Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels and six other nonfiction books, including But Beautiful, which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize, and Out of Sheer Rage, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. The winner of a Lannan Literary Award, the International Centre of Photography's 2006 Infinity Award for writing on photography, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters' E. M. Forster Award, Dyer is a regular contributor to many publications in the US and UK. He lives in London. For more information visit Geoff Dyer's official website: www.geoffdyer.com

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