Sunday, April 19, 2015

"The moment will never be again, the moment is gone"

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
"Ignored and lost and thrown away"
BuzzFeed's 51 Books That Prove Reading Can Change Your Life listicle is a never-ending source of inspiration. I'm systematically tackling the list, which also contains The Catcher in the RyeThe Last Continent, The Hunger Games series, the Harry Potter series, The Book Thief and It's Kind of A Funny Story, and this time it was up to Jon McGregor's If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (2002) to step up to the plate. I had never read anything by McGregor, but the quote in the article convinced me enough.

If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things

The skinny

The plot of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things is twofold: it describes the actions and thoughts of a slew of unnamed neighbors on the last day of Summer 1997, intercutting it with the story of a young woman who has recently discoverd that she is pregnant. She oftentimes refers to a day in the past when something terrible happened, and it gradually becomes clear to the reader that the rest of the book is set during this day.

The review

If Nobody... was  a frustrating read. I had to finish it in spurts because I simply couldn't get through it. That is not a knock on McGregor at all; his writing is delicate, intricate and beautiful, but saving the "main event" of the book until the very end and focusing instead on unremarkable, everyday minutiae was incredibly boring to me. I'm aware of the irony here, believe you me, but I couldn't get into the lives of unnamed characters, especially when their stories are mundane and uninteresting. McGregor's prosaic style is the only reason I kept reading, because I stopped caring about the characters and the story about halfway in.

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