‘Indigo Nights’ by David Greenwood


The only thing I can equate this book to is taking a wild ride in the DeLorean time machine, for I have most definitely visited the past and then been brought back to the future. David has successfully created a visual of life in the swinging sixties, first in the north and finally down in London and Brighton. He has painted with words the reality of poverty and struggle, living day to day with the short-change in his pocket counting down until next pay day, excellently portraying a lifestyle that my generation (filled with security of welfare) can only imagine. Harsh realities of alcoholism and gender identity struggles are brought to life in David’s words which provide an education of pain and reality.

The main character Zac (to start with) is a young art student who meets Glenda, soon to be nicknamed the Nemesis. A trendy young man with a bohemian attitude to life, Zac ventures to the big smoke to make his fortune and escape the clutches of his strict, middle-class-values Father who is no stranger to using physical violence as a punishment.

Zac’s addiction to alcohol grows over the book and you can see the problem growing in the chapters. Survival is key and Zac overcomes many obstacles in life as a young man.

As well as witnessing Zac’s growth into a man, you witness his transition into a woman, Nina, a woman whose journey through life I would love to know more about.

A lot of the story is told in Bradford, my hometown, so I found it fascinating reading about how it was in the sixties and seventies. Some of the buildings now long gone but the road names still exist. Knowing that Zac and I have walked the same streets, forty years apart, made me smile.

The relationship I found most interesting, yet difficult to read, was between Zac and his parents. It was clear to see why Zac strove to stay away from the norm and what was expected of him. His dad, WW2 veteran turned police officer, (an all-around man’s man) has certain values that he wanted obeying and his mother, powerless to speak up, is scared to be anything but the dutiful housewife. Something which eventually frustrates Zac, understandably, when he has been surrounded by so many free women not afraid to speak their minds.

Filled with sex, poverty, addiction, this book is all about overcoming obstacles. If any of my generation think they have it tough fitting in to the modern world, they should read this book and get an education on what a tough life is all about.

All in all, an absolutely fascinating read which had me hooked from the start. I look forward to reading more from David.


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