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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Sunday 12 August 2012

Brighton Author Celebrates Debut Novel Success With Book Giveaways

This month marks a year since Myriad Editions published Brighton-based Nina de la Mer's excellent debut novel, 4 a.m.


All month they are celebrating, with a mixture of book giveaways and an online birthday party campaign.

To kick-start proceedings, national book group website goodreads will give 10 lucky readers a chance to win a free copy of 4 a.m. via their website, right up to the book's birthday on August 26th.

There will be shout outs happening on Facebook and Twitter over the birthday weekend, led by Nina and featuring endorsements from 4 a.m.'s biggest fans, including Ian Rankin and John Niven.

On August 25th from 10.00 – 12.00, Myriad are organising a big book giveaway at a secret location in Brighton.

They are offering the public an opportunity to grab free copies, get their photo taken for Twitter and to write a review of 4 a.m., which will lead to winning another free, Myriad title.

To refresh your memory: set in the early 1990s on a British army base, 4 a.m. tells the story of Cal and Manny, soldiers posted to Germany as army chefs.

Bored and institutionalized, the pair soon succumb to the neon temptations of Hamburg’s red-light district, where they dive into a seedy world of recreational drugs and all-night raves.

But it is only a matter of time before hedonism and military discipline clash head on, with comic and poignant consequences.




As A Reminder: Here’s The Brighton Magazine’s review of 4 am.

Brighton-based author Nina de la Mer has, for me, taken a step back into the unknown and written a Class A novel about a friendship under pressure during the early 1990s rave scene.

4 a.m. captures not only the time and place (a British army base) but also the perennial pressures of growing from carefree youth into responsible and rounded adulthood.

The process of putting together 4 a.m. saw Nina write a series of letters between two fictional characters, Cal and Manny. Having found the process too limiting, the two central voices grew into side-by-side narratives.

Early chapters have the reader drawn into the seedy world of out of hours Hamburg, where the bored Cal and Manny become embroiled in a small circle of fellow ravers; each with different personalities and problems.

The most devious and dangerous character, yet strangely one of Nina's most fun to construct, is Iain. His wife is seemingly oblivious to his cheating ways, yet it's the control and fear he wields over the others that leads to the eventual incarceration of the easily lead Manny.



It's noted that the army is also in some way responsible for the moral downfall of Cal, Manny et al.

Through double-standards alcohol use is seemingly an accepted and expected given, yet recreational drugs (which may well produce a more rounded and less socially threatening soldier) are not merely frowned upon, but aggressively stamped-out.

Though Manny's description of his inner circle as: 'A mouldy fruit cocktail of drink-spikers, pill-munchers and girl-friend-stealers, coke-heads, fuck-up and prick-teases,' means that the institutionalised nature of a soldier's career is probably a more dangerous cocktail than alcohol and recreational drugs served together.

What Nina has Cal and Manny truly represent are two very different universal character traits; the optimist and the pessimist. Which is able to negotiate a better path through life is for the reader to discover!

That I delved into 4 a.m. a rave virgin didn't in anyway hinder my enjoyment of this novel.

It had me gripped from the off, and by its close I felt I'd actually been willingly dragged kicking and screaming though Nina's fictional world, and emerged a more rounded and less judgemental human being for my efforts.

Novel of the year? I've yet to read a better one.


by: Mike Cobley




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