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Industry of Magic & Light

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781399603263

Price: £9.99

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Industry of Magic & Light is a love letter to the counterculture of the 1960s and a requiem for its passing.

The much-anticipated prequel to Keenan’s cult classic debut, This is Memorial Device, Industry of Magic & Light is set in the same mythical Airdrie in the 1960s and early 70s and centres on a group of hippies running their own psychedelic light show. Told in two halves – the first in the form of an inventory of the contents of a caravan abandoned by one of the hippies, the second in the form of a tarot card reading – it is not so much a book about the 1960s as a direct channelling of the decade’s energies, bringing to life how even the smallest and dreariest of working class towns felt so full of possibility in the wake of the psychedelic moment. Via artefacts from the time – everything from poetry chapbooks, record reviews and musical instruments through bubblegum wrappers, bicycle repair kits and mysterious cassette recordings – the book opens out into adventures along the hippy trail in Afghanistan and behind the Iron Curtain that leads a cast of new and returning characters – as well as the authorities – to believe that they are literally making magic. Simultaneously a forensics of the 1960s, a detective novel, an occult thriller, a vision quest, and the hallucinatory exposition of a moment where it felt like anything was possible, Industry of Magic & Life brings to life the streets of small working class towns as transformational sites of utopian joy.


Keenan makes serious magic with this kaleidoscopic crowd of shamen and showmen, this host of flawed, unexpected, brilliant characters. Industry of Magic & Light is a spell-binding inventory of 1960s culture and a glorious, thrilling, funny reading experience. It's Keenan in excelsis: transcendent, violent in intensity, full of joy and utter wonder.
Wendy Erskine
Keenan threads these votive objects into a tapestry as delirious and hallucinogenic as a John Cippolina guitar solo... This is Memorial Device was searing and brilliant and totally made up. Don't tell me Keenan has done it again... Keenan is showing us how even in Airdrie - perhaps especially in Airdrie - the possibilities were infinite. And maybe, just maybe, he's written another classic.
The Scotsman
I cracked open my copy of INDUSTRY OF MAGIC & LIGHT and within TWO pages had laughed out loud twice, nodded furiously once and was totally ensnared. Keenan captures the literal magic of your local scene's hidden reverse.
John Doran, editor of The Quietus
There are some writers whose books disrupt you so profoundly that to encounter them is to survive a life event. David Keenan is one of these beasts. Read him.
Lara Pawson
INDUSTRY OF MAGIC & LIGHT does something that is depressingly rare... it cracks open the majesty, the poetry and the strange high magic that is present in working class communities, if only we could be bothered to look.
Keiran Goddard
Brilliant - pure undiluted Keenan in crystalised form. Less a book and more of a passport, INDUSTRY OF MAGIC & LIGHT is nothing like you expected but everything you hoped for.
John Higgs
This is Memorial Device was my favourite book of the last decade, an imagined history of a local music scene that I found more genuinely evocative of growing up in and around bands than most reality-based histories. With INDUSTRY OF MAGIC & LIGHT David has spread this hallucinated universe out, and back in time, to create a prequel that fills out and colours in the edges of his characters in a way I found beautiful and life affirming.
Andy Bell, Ride
The only thing I didn't love about INDUSTRY OF MAGIC & LIGHT was the nagging feeling you'd been born with an enfeebled imagination when putting it down. HAIL KEENAN.
Lias Saoudi, Fat White Family