Keenan’s debut novel follows last year’s reissue of shop favourite England’s Hidden Reverse, his epic history of the esoteric musical underground of the 1980s, and it doesn’t disappoint. This is the oral history of Memorial Device, a Lanarkshire post-punk band of mythical misfits and sideways dropouts, as told by those involved. Clear chronology is largely eschewed in favour of kaleidoscopic fragments of violence, punk, sex, psychosis, and the fertile misery of small town life—all constantly sliding against each other, at once illuminating and obscuring the bigger picture. Hilarious and bewildering in equal measure, this will bring to mind David Foster Wallace as its closest point of reference, but ultimately Keenan is operating in a zone largely uncluttered by familiar signposts.
Published on February 2nd, 2017