"All My Colors" is the first book by David Quantick that I have read, I can assure you that it will not be the last.
In television, Quantick has writing credits for shows like "Veep," "The Thick of It," and "On the Hour." But if I were also to mention shows like "Jam" and it's radio predecessor, "Blue Jam," you will get an idea of the kind of territory in which "All My Colors" sits.
The book revolves around Todd Milstead, a boorish thug of a man who fancies himself a writer. His delusion is held back by one simple reality: he really cannot write. But he can quote, and he can lecture which, for the time being, will have to be enough.
That is until a book spews about of him, the next Great American Novel, "All My Colors."
Quantick skilfully steeps the novel in a foreboding sense of doom from the beginning, as Milstead slowly sinks into the filthy mire of gothic horror. The language is exact, and the pace is exhilarating, leaving a book that breathlessly swirls around and captivates the reader. I am not usually a swift devourer of books, unlike Tim, Quantick's fictional bookshop owner, but this was a tome that I could not put down. When it was over, I had to sit, breath, and regain my troubled equilibrium.
On a deeper level, Quantick explores the nature of certainty and ideas, with Kafkaesque precision. As a would-be writer myself (though hopefully not a Milstead), I recognize that there are few new ideas, that we are all composites of everyone who has come before. There is a horror in questioning the illusion of individuality. Has there ever been an original thought in my brain?
Quantick deftly picks at this question, creating characters like Behm, the private detective, who deliberately ticks every box in P.I. checklist, much to the delight of the main protagonist.
If you are an insecure writer, I would thoroughly recommend this book. You will not sleep for weeks.
If you are not an insecure writer, well, I also thoroughly recommend this book. You might regain healthy sleep patterns a little sooner, but I would still plan for a couple of days of nocturnal nail gnawing.
To summarise, buy and read this book, then tell others to buy and read this book. What lives in our minds cannot be forgotten, right?
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