The Crypto-Amnesia Club

Michael Bracewell, Author Serpent's Tail $8.5 (112p) ISBN 978-1-85242-115-1
The best thing about this slim first novel is the title, which is the name of a trendy London punk club where some of the action is set. As a character explains, ""People come here to forget but can't quite, and end up remembering something else.'' Hyped as the British version of Bright Lights, Big City, the book is narrated by the club's nihilistic manager, Merril, who thinks of his establishment as a ``living hell'' and is in love with a trendoid named Lisa. When she runs off to Europe, Merril wanders the streets pining for his sweetheart. Then she returnswith an obnoxious husband. This is the kind of novel where the making of a fruit salad is described in such detail that it seems to have some great symbolic significance, but in the end is nothing more than a bowl of cut-up apples and grapes. A clever, biting writer, Bracewell has a way with a phrase (``We were, after all, the Kiwi Fruit Generation''). But his characters are singularly unappealing (in Bracewell's words, they suffer from ``spiritual anorexia''), and his style is too affected to engage the reader. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
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