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If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things


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I think that this is the best book I have read so far this year.
The novel is based around a suburban street in which an event occurs which will touch the lives of those around them for years.
The novel is written in a rich poetic language, with some seconds in time broken down into milliseconds.
You never know what the event was that ocurred till the last few pages, and I was way off mark with my guess. One character is shown 3 years after the event, so you can see some of the ways the street has changed.
A fantastic read, highly recommended. :D

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I read this about four years ago, and enjoyed it very much. It was unlike anything I had read previously, and felt rather like reading a Breugal painting. We are shown the detail of everyday occurrences in the lives led by the inhabitants of a small urban street while, unknown to them, events are leading up to an incident that will bring them up short.

I found the slow build-up to the climax of the book quite hypnotic, and the false 'clues' that lead the reader to make several wrong guesses as to that climax were intriguing and enjoyable.

 

Sadly, I expect someone will be along shortly to tell us again that Jon McGregor is a poor writer.

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Sadly, I expect someone will be along shortly to tell us again that Jon McGregor is a poor writer.
That could be (I hope not, but I'll defend him with you!)

 

I think his second novel So Many Ways to Begin, had a mixed reception with readers. I really enjoyed it, but I would say his first was better. This second book was longlisted for the Booker last year I think, so we're not the only people who think he's good.

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I think his second novel So Many Ways to Begin, had a mixed reception with readers. I really enjoyed it, but I would say his first was better.
That is so often the case. If I have really enjoyed a first novel I am quite reluctant to try the second in case I am disappointed.
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I think his second novel So Many Ways to Begin, had a mixed reception with readers. I really enjoyed it, but I would say his first was better. This second book was longlisted for the Booker last year I think, so we're not the only people who think he's good.

 

I've read "So Many Ways to Begin" but not "If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things". My assessment is it was beautifully written, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who mostly read thrillers.

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  • 1 month later...

I’m half way through this novel and am enjoying it.

 

In an inner city street in a northern industrial town something happens one morning. We’re made aware of this at the beginning and realise it is something significant but we’re not sure what it was that happened. We think it may be a car accident or even a fatality. We’re guessing.

 

In a way that reminded me somehow of Hitchcock’s film Rear Window, the narrative pans about: it lets us in on fragments of lives in the road’s old houses, houses which are large and mostly converted into bedsits and flats. There are a variety of people – students, an elderly couple, an Indian family etc. We are given glimpses of their lives at particular moments on a weekday morning. Sometimes the narrator tells us about their past life as with the elderly couple, tenderly described. A linking device is the first person narrative of a young woman whose life we gradually piece together from assorted information and flashbacks.

 

That conversation isn’t made explicit by speech marks is not bothering me. It doesn’t make for any difficulty. It speeds up the narrative flow of the book in fact. The author varies the pace at times by lingering, for example, on a description, as with the single parent father carefully and painfully washing his flaky scarred hands before he can attend to his 4-year-old getting ready for school. Such descriptions are touching almost poetic, but not off-puttingly poetic, if you know what I mean. In contrast, a girl's encounter with the bloke she fancies after a funeral is in stripped bare prose, appropriately.

 

I look forward to finishing the book and adding more.

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I read this book recently too, after seeing the recommendations on here. It is a very unusual book, which I enjoyed a lot. Interesting Chuntzy said it reminded her of Rear Window, as that was my thought as well. A brilliant book.

 

Oh, LadyL, so many 'great minds' on this site! :)

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Hi

 

I'm new to this so hello I just had to put something about this book I was given this to read by a colleague at work and found it absolutely brilliant it is one of the few books that I have read recently where I couldn't figure out what was going to happen it draws you in slowly and takes you on a journey that is really unusual. I loved it and would recommend anyone to get hold of a copy

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...

I agree this is an absolutely outstanding book. I was drawn to it by the title, which is smewhat poetic in itself. I appear to be in a minority who guessed the nature of the tragedy early on, but that did not diminish the horror as it - slowly - unfolded. A book that stays with you, this.

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I loved this book. As everyone has said, it is unlike so much of today's litereatue. Maybe that's where part of its charm lies. The writing is very poetic as you say Chuntzy. Also, the layout is unique and does aid lineal reading. I love something that keeps you guessing right to the end and then leaves you with a kind of literary hangover (though not an unpleasant one).

 

I can't believe you have not finished this books yet Chuntzy, but you never added any more to your comments. Maybe you feel you said all that needs to be said - you certainly reviewed it well.

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I can't believe you have not finished this books yet Chuntzy, but you never added any more to your comments. Maybe you feel you said all that needs to be said - you certainly reviewed it well.

 

Yes, Barblue, finished it pretty sharpish after I wrote that. My opinion is the same. Glad you enjoyed it too.

 

(off-topic for a sec - hope your D.B. doesn't excel himself again on Monday night Barblue!)

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  • 4 months later...

Well as my mother always says, "There's always one!"......

 

I have just finished this book and have to admit that I didn't really enjoy it that much. I'm struggling to see how it the best reads of the year for some of you. I found the book to be very well written but I just didn't engage with the character at all - in fact I really wasn't interested in her and I'm sorry to say that I couldn't wait to finish the book.

 

The lack of speech marks annoyed me, no not annoyed me, confused me - I found that I missed bits of speech often.

:(

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I just didn't engage with the character at all - in fact I really wasn't interested in her
I don't remember 'the character' at all, but it wasn't really her story that captured me, it was the way McGregor 'painted' the scenes in the street before the incident occurred, and the way the reader (well, me anyway) was tempted to speculate about what was to happen.

 

I admit to losing interest in the later part of the book - probably because I wasn't interested in her either, but it still remains a memorable (if clouded) book for me. Not many do.

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