Review: If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things – Jon McGregor

insortI’m actually starting this review prior to having even got half way in this book. In fact, I’ve hardly started this book, I’m 70 pages in. I just wanted to make sure that I put my initial thoughts down.

Why did I wait so long to read this?

I bought this book in September after Sar begged me to but it because she adores it. I trust her judgement, she’d been on at me for years to read this and damn I’m glad I finally did. My only question is that one above. It’s just beautiful and I can see why she loved it and recommends it so highly.

Seriously, this book is just word porn. I actually found myself reading parts aloud because it just sounds so beautiful. The prose in this is just exquisite; it forms more like poetry and I think I’m a little in love. It’s just a breath of fresh air to read something like this, especially after my previous read.

While beautiful, it took me a while to actually sink in to it and actually understand where it was going. Really, it’s quite mundane. It’s just the way in which it’s written makes what would ordinarily be quite dull story vivid and just beautiful. It’s a slow mover and sometimes it’s a little hazy but it’s nonetheless a great book.

Essentially, this book follow a day in the life of a street through a series of vignettes from our narrator, but also interludes from the other people on this street. Each character is only identified by their house number, which can sometimes get a little confusing but it’s an interesting factor as it does just prove that people are more than a name or an appearance. This book is a very intense character study really, showing that ordinary people can be extraordinary if we only look hard enough. From the very beginning there is foreboding of what’s to come as all events are set over one day, with insights in to the past and future at times, and we don’t find out what happens until the last 5 or 10 pages wherein it all happens at once.

I just cannot put in to words how beautifully this man writes; so I’m going to put a few quotes below just to make a point.

“The whole city stopped – And this is a pause worth savouring, because the world will soon be complicated again.”

“I wonder how many ways there are for a mother to produce that wreckage in her own daughter, and my muscles tense as I think of them.”

I’ve just had to really think how to rate this because… it’s difficult. On the one hand it’s absolutely beautiful but, on the other, half the time it just felt like a bunch of pretty words all coming together and not making all that much sense! It was a long decision for me to eventually settle on this: 4/5

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