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The Colour of Memory

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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  206 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A wonderful, nostalgic novel about youth in London in the 1980s
Paperback, 254 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Little Brown and Company (first published 1990)
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Madhuri
Reading this book felt like listening to jazz. It swept me with a deep nostalgia for someone else's memories.
It is a collection of Imagery and descriptions. And those odd thoughts which fill the mind but don't often come on paper.
Michael
I became a fan of Geoff Dyer's writing style a couple if years ago and am making my way through his books. His style is clear and honest, opposite of pretentious, and he works very hard to make it feel fresh, sensitive, funny all at different moments. This first novel set in 1980s Brixton section of London is all those things and it was a pleasure to find it in the U.S.
Brian Grover
This was an impulse buy made while strolling past McNally Jackson one night, but I'm extremely happy to have made it. It's essentially a book with no plot, just 60 short chapters strung together that piece out a year in the life of a group of 20-something friends in the London suburb of Brixton in the late '80s. They're a group of would-be artists and layabouts who have little ambition beyond scraping out a living and enjoying each others' company, which sounds like it could be insufferable. It'...more
Peter Landau
Sometimes the characters let you know what’s going on in THE COLOUR OF MEMORY by Geoff Dyer, like when one, a writer, explains that he never applies plot. Plot kills. This first novel kills, but not mortally, and, of course, it’s plotless. The other way Dyer pops into the narrative is by an aside, slipping next to you and whispering in your ear, such as when he explains that memory, like this book, is more a collection of snapshots that capture not only a moment of your time and place, but those...more
Joe
As noted above, this is my all-time favorite book. I like everything about it; the unconventional style, the language, the stories, the world it creates and the situations it evokes. Every time I read it I get more out of it. Recommended for everyone.
Lisa
I just love this book. I've read it so many times
Kholofelo
Disappointing.

If a book is called a novel and is without a plot, then there must be something special in between its pages to keep you reading. This one has no plot and has nothing special about it, apart from the rumours you've heard about the apparently wonderful author of it- which leaves you with even more disappointment because of the great expectation.
However, there are some really good snapshots of life as we know it, that make you slightly nostalgic and urge you forward through each pag...more
Mark Love
Luke kindly gave me this, and said "not much happens" which I nearly gave as a three word review, but it deserves more.

Set in Brixton in the mid 1980s The Colour Memory follows a group of young adults enjoying themselves, hanging out and generally doing what young adults do. There isn't much of a plot (derided by one of the characters in the book, who is an aspiring writer, as "the ruin of a good book") and the whole thing feels more like looking at a sequence of paintings rather than reading a...more
Tara Busa
A quiet plot driven by the lives of a group of 20 somethings. Beautifully written, studded with smart observations of life and human nature that creep up on you while you're reading. Love Dyer's unique description of color and dry humor.
Colin N.
I have really liked other works by Dyer, and there is some nice imagery here and there in this book, but as a whole it rambles a bit without any point. "Color" sets out the interlocking lives of college-aged kids in 80s Brixton, including a narrator loosely based on Dyer himself - hanging out, doing drugs, moving in and out of relationships, living on the dole, going to bars. He nicely evokes a specific time and place, with a good eye for detail, but this reads to me like an early work (which it...more
Janmf
May 03, 2013 Janmf rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: David Stormer
Wonderful! And this was his first novel! He describes in loving, witty and clear-eyed detail this big city world (the down-and-out, dangerous suburbs of London) of emerging adults who live a hand-to-mouth, bumbling, stumbling, funny, sometimes creative existence in rooms that you can smell. There is no real plot - or only a tiny one - but I was so entranced with each of the characters that their existence and interaction held me. It's an edgy, funny account of an age that, though I've long passe...more
Zachary Powell
Dyer's a great writer. A realist, but a funny and witty realist.
Graham McGrew
This is my favorite of Dyer's books, just a whisker better than previous fave But Beautiful . . . A Book About Jazz.
Lucy Hastings
I read this book when I moved to Brixton. It is about a group of friends that just hang out in South London . As the books describes 'it is a time when 'you do not form friendships, but are formed by them.' A lovely book that describes Brixton in the late 80's perfectly. Geoff Dyer, a local man himself, writes so perceptively about friendships. If you liked this one you'll like Paris Trance too.
Yashoda Sampath
It was ok. It went by quickly, and functioned as a lovely vignette in a way, but it was too innocent in many ways. I don't know how you can have a book about riot era Brixton without any riots!

Mainly it was about pretentious faux-bohemians getting their asses kicked. Which really I have no objection to.
Andrew
Geoff Dyer's first novel. It seems raw as though he is testing out a lot of the things he would use in later fiction and non-fiction. Some works, some doesn't, but it does capture that fleeting moments in one's 20s when you think the world is always going to be like that. An enjoyable read.
Jeb
This is the debut work of one of my favorite writers. It’s funny. It’s poignant. It’s a funny and poignant portrait of young people living in 1980s London.
Tom DiChristopher
Engrossing and beautifully written, offers a view into the 1980s Brixton scene and the days of the dole.
Jenny
Beautifully written.
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Geoff Dyer was born in Cheltenham, England, in 1958. He was educated at the local Grammar School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He is the author of four novels: Paris Trance, The Search, The Colour of Memory, and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; a critical study of John Berger, Ways of Telling; five genre-defying titles: But Beautiful (winner of a 1992 Somerset Maugham Prize...more
More about Geoff Dyer...
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz The Ongoing Moment Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D.H. Lawrence

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