studies in travel writing

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Morley, Paul, Nothing (London: Faber, 2000).

'I remember that my father killed himself. I suppose that means I must have a good memory.'

In typically idiosyncratic fashion, Paul Morley revisits the past he has long struggled to forget: his childhood in Stockport ('the town I couldn't wait to escape from, the town where I didn't want to die'), his teenage years ('there was nothing physical about me. Everything was just mental'), and the unfathomable suicide of his depressive father.

The suicide wiped out great parts of Paul Morley's memory, his feelings about his father, and about his own life. In writing the book he begins to discover some of that memory and feeling, and review his own identity as the son of a suicide. He considers how the deaths of Ian Curtis, Elvis Presley and Marc Bolan might have had an impact on the story. He also recalls how he once contemplated suicide himself, because of a pair of trousers.

A funny and engaging work of confession, an obsessive look at obsession, a unique meditation on families and suicide. Nothing is the story of one man's disappearance and of his re-appearance.

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