Stephen Amidon The Primitive
Indigo Pbk 5.99
Set in a liberal yuppie enclave of a South Carolina city, The Primitive tells the story of David, ex-grant distributor for a charity organisation, now grudging advertising copy writer for a property development company, and his fall from grace. In he tradition of various eighties doomed yuppie tales The Primitive parallels David's own personal disintegration with the failure of the Reagan project. Wall Street speculation destroys David's town: Burleigh and the process of re-adjustment is just a surely destroying David. Although not an economic casualty he is finding it hard to uphold his previous values in a job he cannot justify and is faced with the dispiriting struggle for survival of his wife's community radio station. Enter fate in the shape of a car accident and a mysterious injured woman driver. After initial rationalisations fail David drags himself further and further into a state of obsession with the mysterious woman.
The Primitive is a fascinating book well executed, the description of David's failing grasp on reality being skilfully paralleled by the portrayal of an increasingly surreal urban landscape and the sign-posting of subtle changes in power in his desperate relationship. Amidon seems more comfortable when describing Sunday morning breakfasts and folk concerts than car park show downs with hoods but as a thriller it moves subtly with plenty of genuine surprise and captures the yuppie nightmare to a tee. (R.L.)

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