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This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan

This Is Memorial Device

by David Keenan

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To me oral histories read like blind men describing an elephant: individual narratives can be so disparate, without overlap, that the overarching story becomes disjointed. Are these people talking about the same scene? When the history in question is fiction, as in this novel, the problems are compounded further--the reader cannot cross check anyone's story.

I like much about this book--some voices are rather charming and/or hilarious--but the large cast of fictitious characters and bands becomes too hard to follow. (On a minor note, I also wish the circumstances of the death of one of the main characters were described more fully, to assuage my curiosity.) Recommended. ( )
  librarianarpita | Sep 8, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571330835, Paperback)

This Is Memorial Device, the debut novel by David Keenan, is a love letter to the small towns of Lanarkshire in the west of Scotland in the late 1970s and early 80s as they were temporarily transformed by the endless possibilities that came out of the freefall from punk rock. It follows a cast of misfits, drop-outs, small town visionaries and would-be artists and musicians through a period of time where anything seemed possible, a moment where art and the demands it made were as serious as your life. At its core is the story of Memorial Device, a mythic post-punk group that could have gone all the way were it not for the visionary excess and uncompromising bloody-minded belief that served to confirm them as underground legends. Written in a series of hallucinatory first-person eye-witness accounts that capture the prosaic madness of the time and place, heady with the magic of youth recalled, This Is Memorial Device combines the formal experimentation of David Foster Wallace at his peak circa Brief Interviews With Hideous Men with moments of delirious psychedelic modernism, laugh out loud bathos and tender poignancy.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 10 Feb 2017 06:46:17 -0500)

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