Arrangements in Blue cover

Arrangements in Blue

Amy Key
Jonathan Cape, Hardback

In this memoir, poet Amy Key takes the lovely pretext of Joni Mitchell’s seminal album Blue to explore various aspects of her own life and relationships. Each chapter, guided by a song lyric, focuses on something different: building a home, her relationships to parents and grandparents, her friendships, her romantic and sexual relationships, and her relationship to herself.

This book and the album are an opportunity for Amy Key to draw a map of herself, as a woman, as a single woman, as a child of the 80s, as a 40-something person, as a Londoner, as a daughter, as a friend, as a lover of beautiful things, as a party host, as a swimmer – defined by all of those experiences and none of them exclusively.

The prose is beautiful and the facets explored are all complex, vulnerable and nuanced, revealing both the big “devils and deeds” as well as the “joy and peace” to be found in small things. There are gorgeous passages about friendships and swimming in the ocean. The life moments are “sketched twice” in a way, revealing inner contradictions and varying interpretations in hindsight. Amy Key’s self stretches from past to present, both tentative and confident, as she takes stock, at the threshold, and imagines what she can pass on and “what shape to give life.”

If not all of it will resonate with all of you, it will at least always be kind, always be true, always be hopeful.

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