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This Is Memorial Device

David Keenan

The story of a cast of misfits, artists, drop-outs, small town visionaries and musicians in a time where anything seemed possible – a moment where art and the demands it made were as serious as your life.

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Format
Ebook
ISBN
9780571330843
Date Published
31.01.2017
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Summary

SHORTLISTED FOR THE GORDON BURN PRIZE 2017
ROUGH TRADE BOOK OF THE MONTH
LRB BOOK OF THE WEEK
CAUGHT BY THE RIVER BOOK OF THE MONTH

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COLLYER BRISTOW PRIZE

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.

Critic Reviews

I've never read a book quite like this. It hits all the reflex points one after another in quick succession ... David's book is such a rich, fun, honest, tender and rare gift, everyone should read it.

Cosey Fanni Tutti
Critic Reviews

Beautifully believable and appallingly sad ... One of the most acute, affecting and aphoristic novels of recent years ... A hallucinatory and haunting vision.

Guardian
Critic Reviews

Brilliant stuff. It captures the terrific, obsessive, ludicrous pomposity of every music fans youth in an utterly definitive way.

Irvine Welsh
Critic Reviews

A fantastical meander in intense, magical-realist prose [...] In these creatively risk-averse times, it's heroically bizarre.

New Statesman
Critic Reviews

Mesmerising ... This debut novel often feels like a piece of free-form jazz: dense, experimental and entirely exhilarating, constantly threatening to spin free of its axis and yet always hauled back by its author's command of his tune.

Independent
Critic Reviews

I don’t often recommend a novel after reading only a hundred pages, but I will make an exception for This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan ... I was laughing so much ... True, there is pleasure to be had in the youth culture of the time, the catastrophic collision of poorly applied make-up, cheap synthesisers, post-industrial nihilism and big hair. But there is much more to this book than the cheap chuckle of recognition ...Therein lies the joy of this book. It captures the utter seriousness, the all-consuming belief, the sacrifice to art, the veneration of ideas that was as true for a shonky band in Airdrie in 1984 as it was for David Bowie in 1967, or Man Ray in 1915, or Gustav Mahler in 1884.

The Times
DavidKeenan

David Keenan is the author of England’s Hidden Reverse: A Secret History of the Esoteric Underworld and a senior critic on The Wire.

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