Geoff Dyer is a very fine writer, although he's not (in my opinion) a very good novelist, as he himself would probably agree. He says in the foreword to one of his books - and therefore perhaps disingenuously - that he only writes novels because, in Britian, if you are a writer, you have to write novels in order to be taken seriously as a writer, although the kind of book he much prefers to publish are his unclassifiable book-length essays, such as Out of Sheer Rage or The Missing of the Somme, or his (excellent) collections of journalism like Anglo-English Attitudes and the recent Working the Room.
The reason why Dyer is not a great novelist is that you can, I think, tell that his heart isn't quite in it. His own favourite writers - Berger, Nietzsche, Sebald, Lawrence, Bernhard - tend to be either barely or not even novelists at all, or if they are novelists, they're hardly conventional ones. Dyer loves to write about things that he's interested in, or better yet, things that he's passionate about, and I don't think he's all that passionate about pretending to be other people, which kind of goes with the territory if you want to write novels. Having said that, his novels are interesting because they're by him, even if they have the quality of having been written by someone who knows a lot about novels, rather than someone who 'naturally', as it were, writes fiction.
This was Dyer's first novel and I think it's his best. It's been compared to Amis fils but Dyer, unlike Amis, doesn't have Grand Ambitions as a novelist, and so is free to actually like his characters rather than regard them as specimens of a general decline, or whatever. The structure is simple but smart and unexpected, and for all that the characters continually moan about their time and place (Brixton in the late 80s), Dyer's style makes you want to be hanging out with them, drinking beer in steaming, smoky pubs on rainy nights or on sunlit rooftops at the weekend, getting wrecked on wine and pot in each other's flats, fancying each other's lovers, listening to Coltrane. It's a great novel about being young.
Dyer went on to write another very good if somewhat darker novel about youth, Paris Trance, although The Colour of Memory has its own shadows and darknesses lurking around the edges; he's also written two other novels, The Search (an interesting but obvious pastiche of Italo Calvino) and Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, which is the only book by Dyer that I've never been engaged by enough to finish. His other books are much better, the ones that nobody else could have written. Maybe he'll write a brilliant novel one day, but he's already written enough brilliant books to qualify as one of the finest English writers of our time, and in any case, if I were him, I wouldn't be worried; the really great English writers of our time aren't (primarily) novelists.