Thursday, March 23Welcome

An Unfinished Business — Michael Bracewell on Middle Ages and the Big City

Art critic and Roxy Music biographer Michael Bracewell writes of his earlier novel, tension perfect22 years ago. unfinished business According to his publisher, it’s his “return to form.” His writing in other literary fields has been consistently compelling over the past two decades, so it’s not a return to his form. Souvenir (2021) is his non-fiction elegy about late 1970s and early 1980s London, its music, art, fashion, and fairly cheap rent.Like Souvenir, unfinished business I am interested in the effects of time and how London and its people have changed over the past half century.

tension perfect It’s the story of an anonymous office worker who breaks through the boring routine on a turbulent day. Initially, unfinished business I felt the same way when I was introduced to Martin Knight, who is in his fifties. He has no friends” and feels “invisible” to a world that no longer interests him. He’s walking through East London on his way to work in the City.

By this description, Martin sounds like a grumpy person, but in reality he’s an “aesthetic” with cherished memories of his youth in the 1970s and 1980s and a passion for grand ceilings and fine wines. It can be seen that Martin is not devoid of self-awareness, and during lunch with his old friend Hannah, said: He stops every 50 steps to look for what is missing. The fucking pub that once saw The Damned. Such thing. ”

Hannah points out that Martin’s daughter Chloe, who is in her mid-twenties, said, “When you talk about punk, it sounds like your mother is talking about war.” I catch

Martin moves into a rarefied environment. Although he grew up in Surrey, his ex-wife Marilyn belongs to the “wealthy metropolitan cultural aristocracy,” the daughter of a famous Marxist filmmaker from Primrose Hill.Chloe inherited Putney’s home. and he works two days a week. However, although Bracewell’s character has privileges, unfinished business It’s humane, intimate, and impactful because it explores universal themes like aging, marriage, friendship, and death, and celebrates beauty.

Book cover for Michael Bracewell's

Bracewell likes to describe furniture, architecture, art, and especially clothing. He vividly draws the outfits of all characters. Eggplant stockings and frankly wild black velor heels and tonal fishnets that smell of overspending.” Finding time ahead, the waitress’s “dyed blonde hair is pulled away from her face by a wide black elastic hairband and dangles to one side in a sultry dread wig style.”

Seemingly trivial, these details add up to convey not only the world of the characters, but also a portrait of the times they live in. Souvenir, Bracewell comes from a similar place as the poet Philip Larkin, who said, “Underlying all art is the urge to preserve.” Larkin wouldn’t have enjoyed Bracewell’s inexcusable metropolitanism, but the moment Brexit and Covid robbed London of some of its pride, the capital was still huge despite all its flaws. It’s refreshing to read a novel that appreciates a concentration of cultural energy, style, and human potential.

It has a tragic ending, but the emotional impact of the book is already sealed by evoking how even the strongest bonds can be unleashed over the years. I’m leaving the possibility of seeing Martin again. Either way, I hope we don’t have to wait another 20 years for Bracewell’s next novel.

unfinished business by Michael Bracewell, White Rabbit £16.99, 192 pages

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