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Абсолютные новички (Конец света)
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Абсолютные новички (London Trilogy #2)

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  1,094 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
Летом 1958 года Великобританию лихорадит: "рассерженные" уже успокоились, "тедди-бои" выродились в уличных хулиганов, но появилось новое и загадочное молодежное движение - "Моды". Лондон потрясают расовые беспорядки, Лондон свингует, Лондон ждет пришествия "Битлов". Если что-то и повлияло на дальнейшее развитие британской рок-музыки - так это именно лето 1958 года...

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published 2004 by EKSMO Publishers (first published 1959)
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mark monday
Absolute Beginners is remarkable - a dream of a novel. It is fast-paced, sweet-tempered, open-hearted, a golden book in many ways – a paean to youth, to a future brimming with possibility, to a present that is lived vibrantly and joyfully. It is also about selling out, junkies, prostitution, and race wars. How can this be? I suppose it is all about point of view, and the protagonist’s perspective is the embodiment of Live Now and Love It. This is one of those rare novels that make the reader fee ...more
One of the reasons I picked up Absolute Beginners again was because of historian Dominic Sandbrook's daft grudge against Colin Macinnes (in Never Had It So Good ). I last attempted it in my teens. It had been a slowish read – proved to be the same this time round – and was easy to give up on back then because the library copy was a horrible mouldy one.

Now, the vintage atmosphere and detail in the story was way more interesting so I hung around to savour that (when younger I'd filed this era as
David Corvine
On the plus side I could still remember whole scenes from this work although it has been at least twenty years since I last read it. The negative is that it hasn't aged well. It rings a true as a lead pound coin. The author's attempt to approximate working class and youth cultural speech is cringe worthy and patronising. The reality was that McInnes was from a middle-class background and grew up in pre-war colonial Australia long before the concept of the teenager as an entity existed. He vacill ...more
Ian Daley
Interesting book. A good read and did well to portray the time and place but not the classic I was expecting. Definitely worth a read though.
To be honest, this book was more interesting to me for its historical value than for anything contained in the story. Absolute Beginners' narrator felt like something of a dull archetype – the arrogant late-teenager convinced he knows more than those around him, and unaware of his own failings.

Perhaps it was more of a novelty in 1958, when it was written. Which brings me to what I thought was most intriguing about the novel. To me at least, it read for all the world like the anachronistic work
Feb 10, 2011 Swissmiss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I read for the books1001 LiveJournal book club community. It was not one I would have picked up to read on my own, and probably wouldn't otherwise have finished even if I did start reading it. The reason is that I found the language difficult to follow, being full of slang and dialect that I am unfamiliar with. Also, after the first hundred pages or so, I realized that nothing was really going to happen. This book is more a portrait of a lifestyle, or of a generation, tha ...more
David Sasaki
Nov 12, 2013 David Sasaki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Lately I've been into mid-century books narrated by teenagers. While I was traveling in London a couple of weeks ago, I started reading Absolute Beginners about 1958 Notting Hill in the run-up to the race riots. Now I'm reading José Agustín's La Tumba, which was published in 1964 and follows a rebellious, literary teenager as he attempts to navigate the stiff, adult world of 1960s Mexico City.

I realized why I'm finding these books appealing when I watched the recent documentary on JD Salinger,
Jan 07, 2016 Stenwjohnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Now, you can think what you like about the art of jazz – quite frankly, I don’t really care what you think, because jazz is a thing so wonderful that if anybody doesn’t rave about it, all you can feel for them is pity: not that I’m making out I really understand it all – I mean, certain LPs leave me speechless.”

― Absolute Beginners

Colin MacInnes' novel "Absolute Beginners" (1959) is a wide-lens view of pre-Beatlemania London, with characters, images and ideas that remain pop fixtures: stylish,
Gavin Smith
I had to take some time to organise my thoughts on this. It's difficult to assess exactly what I think of a book that is so firmly set in and attached to a particular time and place. A further problem is that the time is a couple of decades before I was born and the place is the opposite side of the country. As a result, I have no idea if the events or the narration of Absolute Beginners are in any way authentic. I also don't really care. The narration really reminded me of Anthony Burgess's A C ...more
Murray Ewing
It’s London in 1958, and the narrator of Colin MacInnes’s novel is living in what seems to be a new-minted teenage paradise, where teens, for the first time, have money to spend and the freedom to spend. It’s a world where all races, creeds and levels of society mix, a world where the (never named) narrator feels totally at home — the only cloud on the horizon being that the love of his love, Suze, has agreed to marry her homosexual boss as a front (homosexuality being illegal at the time). The ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Darren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book for its energy, its youthfulness, its optimism and its realism. Reading it made me feel like a teenager again - populated as it is with young people who were England's first ever teenagers (and doing far more with their youth than I ever did with mine). The distrust of adults and the scepticism of their austere rules creates a bubble in which young people move, with a freedom adults resent.

And of course, it just goes to show that the same arguments come round again and again.
Christopher Roth
After I got a little bit into this book, with its outdated slang and its theme of youth rebellion and after glancing at the copyright page -- it first came out in 1959 -- I realized, "Ah, this is the British response to 'On the Road.'" England is a smaller country, of course, so instead of tooling across the North American continent in search of wigged out jazz musicians and so on, the characters are taking cabs between Soho and Notting Hill to listen to some skiffle in a pub. And instead of Dea ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Rhys rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this novel with bad intentions. I wanted to laugh at it. For some reason I assumed it was going to be corny, poorly written and absurdly naive... As it happens, it does contain some language that has dated in such a way that it brings a smile to the lips of the modern reader, but it's simply not possible to read this book right through with an ironic smirk. It's just too good, too exuberant, too smart, too accomplished, and the issues it raises are acutely appropriate for our o ...more
Michael Bohli
Jul 09, 2016 Michael Bohli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Die Auflehnung der Jugend gegen jegliche Art von Autorität, resultierend in einer Ziellosigkeit und gegenseitiger Rivalität. Die Angst vor Verlust von Eigentum, Freiheit und persönlichem Recht, resultierend in Klassenkampf und Wut gegen Einwanderer.
Was sich wie eine sehr knappe und einfache Analyse der aktuellen Lage in vielen Ländern anhört, ist aber die Grundbeschreibung des Inhaltes von "Absolute Beginners" - dem 1959 veröffentlichten Roman von Colin MacInnes. Im Roman beschreibt der Autor di
Feb 23, 2015 Twinkletto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. I read it at that special time when I was a teenager as with Catcher in the Rye when these two novels meant the world to me because I could identify with the main characters. I am certain that if I first read them as an adult I would not hold these two books so dear. Nostalgia is a great thing.
I think Absolute Beginners suffered in popularity because of the 1986 film, as I recall they left out my favourite character The Great Hopite and I didn't care for all the Jazz hand/point
Feb 03, 2009 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mysteriously out of print for many years, this classic novel of teenage life in fifties and sixties London charts the late and largely unlamented cafe bar culture of the period, full of sharp suits and casual violence. Despite being slightly dated, in particular due to its outdated terminology, the book evokes the period in expert fashion. It is chiefly memorable for its depiction of early immigration into Britain from Africa and the Caribbean. Made into a by all accounts lamentable film featuri ...more
Alfredo Pascual
A non-stop frenzy trip around the sixties' teenage movements and a total dictionary annihilator for whom, like me, English is not our first language and even less all the jargon that drench every single paragraph.
Kathrin Passig
Jul 25, 2013 Kathrin Passig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Allerdings auch ein Kandidat für die "Kleine Bibliothek der übermäßig von sich eingenommenen Erzähler" (zusammen mit "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance").
2.5 stars. This book was interesting for the history but some of the writing felt awkward and I didn't really feel too invested in the characters.
Jun 17, 2016 Meghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, standalone, 2016
despite how long it took me to read for such a short book - I really enjoyed this!! The narrator was witty and fun and I wish it was longer :)
Apr 24, 2008 Dfordoom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1959, it evokes the youth subculture of the 50s. Bursting with energy, bitter-sweet, and enthrslling. Don't judge it by the movie version.
From BBC Radio 4 - Book at Bedtime:
Colin MacInnes's cult classic about teenagers, style and racial tension in 1950s London
Mike Melley
Dec 30, 2016 Mike Melley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book reminds me a lot of Kerouac's On the Road, only nobody goes on the road and it's set in London! You have to read this book in the voice its written in for it to make sense - not exactly Cockney English but rather, late 1950's British slang. Really loved the stream of conscious style writing - it takes you right back to the origin of the "teenager", who for the first time, were developing a voice in society. The scene is at the intersection of the seedy underbelly of London's projects a ...more
For heavens sake, this was a bumpy ride! (Written on mobile so it has lotsa typos. Sorry.)
First things first I read this book because it looked Mod-ish and was only 1.5 - my dad later told me it's a true classic and I can learn some from it. I suppose he has only seen the Movie starring David Bowie. Alas.
The book itself is ... alright, I guess. The main character seems enjoyable, sometimes a little hard to understand in his actions, but he's a teenager so I think that's fair. The problem I had
Lorenzo Berardi
Published in 1959, "Absolute Beginners" is the sort of novel that became extremely popular in the UK without leaving many traces elsewhere.

To this day, the book written by Colin MacInnes is perceived as a "modern classic" on the eastern shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Some critics compare the impact of "Absolute Beginners" on the British popular culture and literature to the one "The Catcher in the Rye" had in the US.

Now, what surprised me is that this novel is supposed to be an early manifesto of
Nicole des Bouvrie
A (quite fabulous) book from 1980, where all of a sudden the narrative takes a turn and the reasoning behind fear of immigrants (in the 50s in London) is laid out in detail. The same narrative as we hear nowadays. Unbelievable.
I'll save you the view against immigrants and quote some of the main character's response:
"And the whole point is - he's not denouncing this thing! Not denounced this riot! All he's doing it looking round for alibis." Jill sat down and started working on her nails. "He's j
Kimmo Sinivuori
Aug 13, 2013 Kimmo Sinivuori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book some 30 years ago just before the Julien Temple movie starring David Bowie opened in the Cinemas. At the time, being a teenager myself, I liked the book very much because of its breezy description of British youth culture, esp. the ultra cool early Modernists. Of course, many of the themes that I liked when I re-read it were lost to me 30 years ago. This time around I found much more depth in the story that take place during four months at the end of the decade that saw th ...more
Apr 09, 2013 Carina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read 'Absolute Beginners' by Colin MacInnes after going to the 'David Bowie is' exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum and finding out that it was one of his influences (it was later made into a film Bowie starred in, he was also a contributing artist on the soundtrack). Set in the 1950's it gives the reader an insight into the life of the first generation of teenagers that expressed themselves in their own way rather than being mini adults expected to follow in their parents ...more
I was led to this British novel a few years ago from an interview in the Los Angeles Times book section (back when it was truly a book section.) Pauls Toutonghi, then teaching a class on novels about rock music, included a syllabus of such novels. Absolute Beginners was not mentioned in the interview, which means I must have made my own search and found additional titles. Someday I might get around to posting my personal list of rock'n'roll novels.

The novel is about teenage life in London in the
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MacInnes was born in London, the son of singer James Campbell MacInnes and novelist Angela Thirkell, and was educated in Australia. He served in the British intelligence corps during World War II.

He was the author of a number of books depicting London youth and black immigrant culture during the 1950s, in particular City of Spades (1957), Absolute Beginners (1959) and Mr. Love and Justice (1960).

More about Colin MacInnes...

Other Books in the Series

London Trilogy (3 books)
  • City of Spades
  • Mr Love And Justice

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“Now, you can think what you like about the art of jazz – quite frankly, I don’t really care what you think, because jazz is a thing so wonderful that if anybody doesn’t rave about it, all you can feel for them is pity: not that I’m making out I really understand it all – I mean, certain LPs leave me speechless.” 0 likes
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