June 30, 2009

Ewan Morrison - "Ménage"

I was lucky enough to get sent a copy of this and would recommend people checking it out - I believe it's published this week. It's described on the back as "a Jules et Jim for thejJilted generation," but I think the latter bit is only there for the alliteration. It is, unsurprisingly, about a menage a trois, the story of Owen, Dot and Saul, set in the early days of the YBA art boom, remembered from the crash of early 2009. So it manages to combine a fair amount of Withnailesque debauchery, a whole slew of Morrison's trademark fucking and sucking ("Penises are everywhere!" as Dot puts it), some digs at the art world ("it was rumoured that Saatchi was looking to buy online Islamic web porn as art") and much more into a quite genuine, if unconventional, love story which keeps you gripped right up until the end. And that actually sells the book a little short. Morrison uses his various trinities to explore the nature of art, relationships of power, friendship, mental illness and all that BIG SHIT without ever making the reader feel as if it's being forced down his/her throat. It's a novel about late nights, best read late at night, a strangely redemptive book which, despite a sly ending, is more about what can be than what might have been.

If you want more information about the book and what Ewan is up to, check his site.

p.s. I kind of know Ewan in that we worked on a short story with some other folk and he gave me his top tips for last year, but we've never met and I wouldn't have written anything at all about his book unless I'd enjoyed it. We are not the metropolitan elite. For one, Ewan is Scottish and for two, I'm a liability.

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