The Edge by Jamie Collinson
In these troubled times it’s rare for me to raise much beyond the occasional half-hearted titter – usually when watching reruns of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Bitter recognition rather than real amusement. Therefore having to be rebuked by my dozing partner as I laugh hysterically while reading in bed is a most uncommon occurrence. The source of my uncontrollable mirth is The Edge – a first novel by music industry wheel Jamie Collinson. The particular scene that got me going was set in a restaurant where our hero is trying to impress a new girl friend by ordering a challengingly spicy dish. The consequences are the death of cool in more ways than one. A novel should be entertaining and informative and Collinson’s book is both. The protagonist, Adam, is a Brit living in LA – the disgruntled manager of the LA branch of an organization marketing music that he no longer feels passionate about. His company promotes EDM and related contemporary formats. The play list at the end of the book that reflects the preceding events is more to Adam’s taste. And to mine - not least his nod towards “All or Nothing” by the Small Faces. We know Adam is a good lad at heart because when we are introduced to him he is bird-watching (he knows a hawk from a hand-saw) – a cast iron guarantee of essential decency. Our belief in this essential decency is challenged but not defeated throughout the book which contains an heroic amount of drinking, casual shagging, and cocaine snorting. The lad has, like the base Indian, cast away a pearl of a girl-friend (Sofia) back in London years before and spends a lot of time brooding over the sequence of events that caused their split. This long departed loved one has cast a shadow over Adam’s life. In the meantime he is taking his pleasures where he finds them. However, a kind of redemption beckons in the form of another candidate (Erica) for the role of soul-mate and we are given an insight into the mating rituals of these hip LA inhabitants. It being the music scene, the novel abounds with monstrous egos, massive coke consumption, and serious political maneuverings as the characters grovel or lord it depending on who they encounter. Office politics in these woke days are convincingly invoked also as the employees jostle for position and HR crises arise. A less than enthusiastic response to having a free Kombucha tap available can merit a query from London HQ. Adam is adrift and the bulk of the novel has him struggle between the best and the worst of himself. He’s a man who resists everything except temptation and it’s getting him in trouble. Will he get the girl? Will he find a more satisfactory career? You’ll have a lot of fun following his picaresque adventures to find out.
It’s published by OneWorld. Not sure if it’s in the bookshops yet but you’ll find it on Amazon.