Thursday, 31 May 2007

Remarkable things

I’ve just finished reading Jon McGregor’s If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things, and liked it a lot. I enjoy the passages of prose-poetry, I like the way the author slips seamlessly between them and some very matter-of-fact sections, and I like the fact he resisted the temptation to thicken the plot, or draw the characters more thoroughly. Normally the latter might be a problem with a novel, but I think the whole point is that the characters are supposed to stay vague, half-known, like the people in your own street who you see every day but never really know.
There are plenty of people writing reviews of it on Amazon who disagree, mind you, although I’m slightly at a loss as to why people actually feel angry that a book has ‘wasted their time’. If you loved everything you read, wouldn’t life be slightly boring? I'm also baffled as to why one calls it appalling and says she could write better herself, and then still gives it three stars out of five!
I’m trying to work out where the book’s supposed to be set. A couple of reviewers suggest Nottingham (McGregor’s from there), but it doesn’t feel like it to me. I was guessing at Sheffield or Bradford. Not that it matters…

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