Eureka by Anthony Quinn – Review

eureka anthony quinn book review

by Sarah Morgan

Don’t get the wrong idea about Eureka by Anthony Quinn.

A first glance at the blurb on the front may give a false impression. It reads: ‘drugs, danger, debauchery as London swings in the summer of ‘67’. You could, therefore, be forgiven for thinking that it’s some kind of posthumously published memoir from the actor Anthony Quinn. It could in fact have been about the filming of The Magus, a trippy adaptation of John Fowles’ novel of the same name, in which he plays a charismatic man with the ability to control the lives around him, which would have been going on at about that time.

Those hoping for something of that sort shouldn’t, however, be disappointed by the fact that it’s a completely different Anthony Quinn who is behind this novel. Coincidentally, he worked as a film critic before becoming a novelist, and his knowledge of the movie industry will certainly have come in handy while penning his latest tome.

“Predilection for kinkiness”

eureka anthony quinn book review coverThe title refers to the name of the screenplay within the novel, which is being written by its main protagonist, Nathaniel Fane. He was once a big name who could command huge fees for his work, which in turn paid for his swanky apartment in Piccadilly’s Albany, a home for wealthy bachelors whose tenants have included Lord Byron, Gladstone and Terence Stamp. However, his star is on the wane, and Nat desperately needs his latest project to work.

He’s been commissioned to adapt a Henry James short story for the big screen, giving it a contemporary spin; if successful, it will be directed by a young and acclaimed German auteur with a mysterious background. His enigmatic approach to everything also provides a smokescreen to some decidedly dodgy behaviour.

Nat’s drug habit, predilection for kinkiness and womanising seem set to ruin everything, particularly as they cause friction between him and the London gangster bankrolling the enterprise. A supporting cast of characters flit in and out, including a young actress who hopes to get her big break in the movie, and Nat’s journalist friend who is sniffing out a possible scandal.

“Brilliantly resurrects the atmosphere of swinging London”

Quinn brilliantly resurrects the atmosphere of swinging London during the summer of love; think of a literary versions of the film Performance or Blow Up, and you get an idea of the feeling the novel evokes.

It’s also entertaining to try and guess who some of the characters may be based on – I have my ideas, but wouldn’t want to spoil the fun for anybody else by impressing them on potential readers.

I’d also love somebody to come along and turn Fane’s screenplay into a real film – it’s depicted in snippets throughout the book, and seems, like, totally groovy, man.

‘Eureka’ by Anthony Quinn is published by Jonathan Cape, £14.99 hardback


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