If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

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'This novel owes as much to poetry as it does to prose. Its opening, an invocation of the life of the city, is strongly reminiscent of Auden's Night Mail in its hypnotic portrait of industrialised society...An assured debut' Erica Wagner, The Times. On a street in a town in the North of England, ordinary people are going through the motions of their everyday existence - street cricket, barbecues, painting windows...A young man is in love with a neighbour who does not even know his name. An old couple make their way up to the nearby bus stop. But then a terrible event shatters the quiet of the early summer evening. That this remarkable and horrific event is only poignant to those who saw it, not even meriting a mention on the local news, means that those who witness it will be altered for ever. Jon McGregor's first novel brilliantly evokes the histories and lives of the people in the street to build up an unforgettable human panorama. Breathtakingly original, humane and moving, IF NOBODY SPEAKS OF REMARKABLE THINGS is an astonishing debut. 'The work of a burning new talent ...Jon MacGregor writes like a lyrical angel' Daily Mail

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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 20mm | 240.4g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0747561575
  • 9780747561576
  • 24,204

Review Text

I would say that Jon McGregor's debut novel is as melodic and gentle as Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. It may be a cliche to say that, but McGregor's pen is strong with the enthusiasm of youth which the great American writer once shared. This is a book tantalizingly rich in observation, describing a world we all know, or think we know: a world which is so familiar that we do not see it most of the time. The people and the places and the emotions are ones we all encounter. Take any passage at random and the poetry rises up and touches you. The more common the scene, the more effective: 'Outside, a streetcleaner whirrs past, brushes spinning and skidding across the tarmac, grit and glass and paper skipping up into its innards. The driver stares sleepily ahead, sunglasses curled across his face, lips mouthing the words of the song on the radio, I'll be there for you when the rain starts to fall.' The detail is brilliant yet ordinary, and the debris of most novels is left aside. We are not told the names of most of the characters, or the name of the street, of even the name of the town. The uncluttered canvas allows the real action takes over. It's the last day of summer and, against this backdrop of ordinariness, something quite terrible and astonishing is about to take place. No one in the street who witnesses it will ever be the same again. Jon McGregor's prose is refreshing and is touched by innocence, but at the same time it is bolstered by a strong vein of maturity. His is a name to watch out for. Tahir Shah is the author of In Search of King Solomon's Mines. (Kirkus UK)

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Review quote

"If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things is a dream of a novel" Erica Wagner, The Times "You won't read anything much more poignant than this" William Leith, Daily Telegraph 'Even as it is shadowed by disaster, McGregor's careful prose is sharpened by anticipation and expectation. This is a novel of wonders' Observer 'Overflows with prose as poetry... a beautiful novel ... unexpected, shocking, moving' Big Issue

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About Jon McGregor

Jon McGregor is twenty-five and lives in Nottingham.

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