If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things



❰Reading❯ ➸ If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things Author Jon McGregor – E17streets4all.co.uk Risky in conception hip and yet soulful this is a prose poem of a novel intense lyrical and highly evocative with a mystery at its center which keeps the reader in suspense until the final page In a t Risky in conception hip and yet Speaks of Epub Û soulful this is a prose poem of a novel intense lyrical If Nobody ePUB Æ and highly evocative with a mystery at its center which keeps the reader in suspense until the final Nobody Speaks of PDF ✓ page In a tour de force that could be described as Altmanesue we are invited into the private lives of the residents of a uiet urban street in England over the course of a single day In delicate intricately observed closeup we witness the hopes fears and unspoken despairs of a diverse community the man with painfully scarred hands who tried in vain to save his wife from a burning house and who must now care for his young daughter alone; a group of young club goers just home from an all night rave sweetly high and mulling over vague dreams; the nervous young man at number who collects weird urban junk and is haunted by the specter of unreuited love The tranuility of the street is shattered at day's end when a terrible accident occurs This tragedy and an utterly surprising twist provide the momentum for the book But it is the author's exuisite rendering of the ordinary the everyday that gives this novel its freshness its sense of beauty wonder and hope Rarely does a writer appear with so much music and poetry so much vision that he can make the world seem new.If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

Jon McGregor is a British author Speaks of Epub Û who has written three novels His first novel If Nobody Speaks If Nobody ePUB Æ of Remarkable Things was nominated for the Booker Prize and was the winner of both the Betty Nobody Speaks of PDF ✓ Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award in So Many Ways to Begin was published in and was on the Booker prize long list Even the Dogs was published in and his newest work Reservoir .

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things eBook ☆ If
  • Hardcover
  • 275 pages
  • If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
  • Jon McGregor
  • English
  • 28 July 2016
  • 9780747558330

10 thoughts on “If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

  1. says:

    “He says if nobody speaks of remarkable things how can they be called remarkable?” 239A man with scarred hands stands transfixed in reverie staring at his oblivious daughter and wonders how she will ever discern the remarkable from the ordinary if the key to the beyond continues to be stubbornly hidden behind the obtuse uiescence of daily domesticity I reflect upon the invisible miracles that must have slipped through my fingers or been missed by my unobservant glance under the false pretence of narcotized routine and marvel at Mcgregor’s prowess in bringing this subject matter to attention with perplexing intonation and mould breaking narrativeA chain of uotidian scenes are framed in frozen stillness Polaroid like assembling tiny details of anonymous and seemingly disconnected lives to create the disparate mosaic of any given neighbourhood in a city of Northern England Twins playing cricket on the street a little girl chasing angels college students moving out and facing uncertain futures an elderly couple about to celebrate their wedding anniversary young and not so young lovers giving free reign to passion on a humid evening an introvert boy who collects all sort of useless objects a father whose blotched hands can’t feel the texture of his daughter’s hair Lives rekindled burnt and extinguished in absolute otherness glittering with the vertigo of banality and transcendence ignored by the indifferent eye deeply anchored to self absortionSome years later a woman who was part of the unpremeditated symphony of everyday coexistence in the aforesaid community summons her memories of that fateful evening while facing major disruption in her current life Alternate chapters interlace past and present and knit a thorough map of inconseuential details that could have changed the course of other people’s paths in giving shape to unuttered secrets and yearnings stillborn promises and unspoken fears that locked opportunity in the trap of perfidious forlonness The misshapen pieces are delivered at a steady pace escalating in suspicion and trepidation combining mellifluous prose magnified by the peculiar tonality of Mcgregor’s choice of words that slowly gathers momentum in a progressively frenzied cadence until the puzzle becomes whole in a culminating explosion of mystical significanceAnd the remarkable things that are never spoken out loud the tragedies of daily life the latent loneliness the inexorable foreboding what is never said and others don’t see cristalyze into a mirror in which the reader can contemplate himselfAnd every minutiae shines under Mcgregor’s omniscient magic wand instrumenting a succession of recurrent themes pattern of symbols and repeated sentences that evoke a mollifying chant and bemuse in almost supernatural revelationAnd ineffectual prose emerges as the self defining mediatrix between reality and the inexplicable mysteries of bare existenceWhat for some might appear a far fetched closure for a highly unconventional novel was for me a hair raising tribute to the magic illusion that remains hidden underneath the mask of daily ordinariness One only needs to stand still in the middle of any street after a virulent summer storm and listen to the muggy silence the tentative twittering of birds find the remarkable things in between and believe “He says there are remarkable things all the time right in front of us but our eyes have like the clouds over the sun and our lives are paler and poorer if we do not see them for what they are”

  2. says:

    arrgh What a nice little book this was So many beautiful little phrases and a great sense of isolation and the better feelings of lonely Everything was going for this book Who cares if there is a lack of character names the characters were nicely flushed out the people in our everyday lives are who we know but don't really know Everything was going right for it and then it fucking Bel Canto ed me I didn't even see it coming right out of left field I was Patchetted and the I wanted to lay down on the cigarette littered ground of Woodside Memorial Park and beat my fists and cry till one of the old men chatting would across the way would come over and tell me it's ok there will be other books and sometimes the authors make poor decisions at the end but you can still remember the two hundred and something good pages that came before Instead though I pulled myself together and decided to keep my composure and tried to figure a way to continue drudging through this life where great books can fall apart with only a page or so left

  3. says:

    If you start into this book looking for a conventional plot driven story you might be disappointed This is like a motion picture put in words exuisitely recording one summer day in the life of one unremarkable neighborhood in Northern England As you watch the various residents going through their day from earliest morning until late afternoon you also get to peek inside their hearts and minds and histories Most of the characters are never named but as the author gradually unveils them on this ordinary day they become real and vivid and sometimes heartbreakingly lovable I was especially touched by the tenderness of the old couple who had married just before the husband went off to war I confess I was blubbering when he came back from the war and his wife said There's no need to shout I'm standing right behind you This book is event driven rather than plot driven The one day described here is a day that leads up to an event that all of the characters will witness The book long buildup to the event does get exasperating at times so impatient readers bewareAlternating with the day's progression is a second component of the narrative One of the witnesses to the event describes her life three years after that day Uncomfortable circumstances in her present life have caused her to reflect on what she witnessed and how it has affected her life since then Given the amazing buildup the book's conclusion is somewhat wimpy and also sort of freaky So don't hold your breath for a shocking ending Read it for the intimacy with the characters and for the author's extraordinary powers of description

  4. says:

    I read this novel as a follow up to Jon McGregor’s superb Reservoir 13 which was my standout contemporary read of 2017 If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things henceforth INSoRT was McGregor’s first novel published in 2002 when he was twenty six years old and a complete unknown It put him straight on the literary map when it was longlisted for the Booker Prize as an out of left field choiceI didn’t read INSoRT at the time and I’m not too sure I would have liked it if I did although it’s impressive as a debut novel There’s a certain studenty earnestness about it and a degree of overelaboration and straining for effect The themes are self consciously weighty birth death the human condition in such a way that they often crush the relatively thinly imagined human figures who serve as vehicles for them There is some beautiful writing locally a character’s extended tender observant reminiscence of his grandfather’s death stood out for me but it didn’t really engage me overallConsidered per se then this was a relative failure for me but what made it a fascinating experience was that I was reading it with Reservoir 13 in mind as a constant point of comparison The two novels have marked similarities Both are choral in character and focused on place They attempt to portray individuals but also entire communities and individuals as parts of communities one of the great themes of nineteenth century fiction think Middlemarch but often left to soap operas in our own atomistic age Reservoir 13 takes as its setting and subject matter a small Peak District village visited by tragedy INSoRT has a smaller canvas a somewhat run down street in a Northern townBoth novels weave together a large number of narrative threads each centered on a character or group of characters in the style of a medieval romance or a modern soap opera The difference in Reservoir 13 is that the texture of the interweaving is much denser; each narrative is given only a few sentences in the middle of long chapter length unbroken macro paragraphs Another difference is that in Reservoir 13 MacGregor—rather magically—broadens his purview beyond humans to the animal bird plant and insect life that surrounds them often unnoticed and the cycles of the weather and the seasons A further very notable difference between the two novels is that by the time of Reservoir 13 Macgregor has learned the art of concealing his art INSoRT signals its epiphanies and narrative twists in what can sometimes be a gauchely portentous way Reservoir 13 by contrast almost throws these moments away in the flow of its prose so that you are sometimes stopped in your tracks trying to take in and process what you have just read For anyone with an interest in the mechanics of fiction reading these two novels together is an inspiring lesson in how a talented young writer can become a great middle aged one by keeping to the same essential formula but refining and disciplining his art

  5. says:

    A strangely apposite time to read this book Of the two main threads in the novel one takes place on the last day of summer in 1997 which is the day Princess Diana died In recent days in the UK that has been in the media a lot as it was twenty years ago and various remembrances have taken place Whatever your views of Princess Diana this means that most people reading this book will have a recollection of things that happened to them on that day I remember learning about the accident because it was a weekend and we used to let our children go downstairs to watch TV in the mornings so we could lie in I know what you are all thinking When one of them came upstairs to tell us they couldn’t find their programmes I went down to see and every channel was showing coverage of the same eventMcGregor has said that this novel began partly as a book about the reaction to the death of Diana In some ways it is similar to his Booker 2017 listed novel Reservoir 13 in that it shows life going on despite the remarkable things happening around the people To be clear the book does not talk about the death of Diana that is not one of the remarkable thingsThe writing is very poetic You can get a feel for the style from the very first words If you listen you can hear itThe city it singsIf you stand uietly at the foot of a garden in the middle of a street on the roof of a houseIt’s clearest at night when the sound cuts sharply across the surface of things when the song reaches out to a place inside youIt is a wordless song for the most but it’s a song all the same and nobody hearing it could doubt what it sings And the song sings the loudest when you pick out each noteAnd that’s what McGregor then sets out to do pick out each note An omniscient narrator pans up and down the street visiting the people in the houses and exploring their actions thoughts and feelings It is clear McGregor wants us to hear every note and he captures a lot of details for us to make us aware of what is happening We learn early on that something dramatic happens This makes this novel very different to Reservoir 13 In Reservoir 13 something dramatic has happened to start the book but it is never resolved In this novel we are aware that something dramatic is going to end the book and we work our way towards itThere’s a second thread to the story set some years later one of the residents of the street receives her own unsettling news and as she works to come to terms with that she has cause to look back to that dayThe two storylines develop in alternating sections which I think works wellThe majority of the book doesn’t feel like a book It’s like a camera panning up and down the street zooming into houses to pick out a detail zooming back out to move to another house going back to houses to see what has developed since we were last there It is very visual None of the characters is named well one is right at the end and that can make it tricky to latch on to some of them as you have to remember which number they live at or what their particular physical appearance is that separates them from all the other residents But you do uickly get into the swing of thatI enjoyed a lot of the language even the funny speech with no uotation marks and a lot of incomplete sentences trying to mirror the way we do actually talk a lot of the time we don’t always finish sentences we change our minds halfway through we say things like i just and then stop because we aren’t sure how to say the next bit But it did feel a bit over the top at times like everything was turned up to 11 all the way throughI don’t want to post spoilers but I’m really not sure what I think about the ending It was one of those Hang on All the way through you’ve been telling us x but hinting that x might not be the full story and now you say it’s actually y moments It definitely fits the “remarkable” label and it comes out of nowhere But I’m not sure I liked itSome beautiful prose poetry Some interesting observations about life in an northern English town A debut novel that shows that McGregor is going to develop into a talented writer And Reservoir 13 demonstrates that he has indeed developed For me Reservoir 13 is far worthy of its place on the Man Booker Longlist that this novel is even though this is far from a bad book It’s just not a great book It's just my opinion

  6. says:

    The magnificence of the mundane He says do you think there's too much of it?I say I don't know I mean some of it some of it seems a bit you know less importantHe says he was talking about that a lot before he went away about there being too much that's what all these things are about his projects he was trying to absorb some of itI say too much of what he says too much of everything too much stuff too much information too many people too much of things for there to be too much of there is too much to know and I don't know where to begin but I want to tryWhere to begin That silent stillness between the end of night and the break of the new day A fateful moment at the end of the day where time stands still locked in horror and one unlikely movement can cross the divideAnd before that moment there is an ordinary day A day when people of a street in a Northern town of England come home from a night out go to bed get up make tea hang out washing uarrel make love make tea celebrate a wedding anniversary make tea wash the car play cricket go shopping make tea How tedious? Too much information and some of it seems a bit you know less important? Strangely no Strangely mesmeric absorbing In fact I sat out in the sun and read it straight through caught up in the poetry drawn in by the poignancy of the man who could never explain to his wife why he can't join her digging the allotment nor tell her the reason for those doctor's appointments the gentle regret at the young girl who realizes that the relationship she's in will go nowhere they haven't spoken about it they haven't said what will we do when we leave here do you want to come with me let's work something out and she knows that this means they will uickly and easily drift apart into other people's lives into other people's arms in rooms like this She's neither surprised nor particularly regretful she feels only a kind of anticipatory nostalgia And the gasp when a few pages later the young man that she is preparing to let go closes his eyes in sweet anticipation of the weeks and months maybe years to come They haven't made their plans yet they're not sure what they'll be doing or where they'll be but he knows they'll be spending their nights enclosed together like this he knows he can take that much for granted The fact that they haven't even needed to discuss it makes it all the sweeter like it's a given as natural as a cup of tea in the morning or a shared cigaretteMismatch of expectations Disconnectedness Twins play a role; one of one pair tells us it isn't like what people think they aren't telepathic or anything but we've always been very close we've always known most stuff about each otherConnected he says like we're connectedAnd then he pulls a face and wipes his forehead with his hand and he says well less disconnected than other people at leastSo a novel of mindfulness perhaps But then and maybe because I did read it straight through it began to feel like a sticky toffee pudding a little cloying on the tongue The man with the burnt hands that was well a bit too much And then the ending Well I'm not going to spoil it for you I have to acknowledge the audaciousness of the ending but for me it did not work A risk but a foolish one McGregor can spin gold but it all turned back to straw at the endI would read by him though I would

  7. says:

    This is a poetic novel about a typical summer day with a decidedly atypical climax in the life of a dense urban street in an unnamed English cityThe plot holds readers' interest but this novel's real gem is its characters McGregor conjures up a residential city street and the people who populate it From the old couple getting on the bus to the strange boy with the nervous tick from the rambucuntious twins playing cricket in the street to the young adults recovering from a night of dancing the author has a gift for creating real human beings whose flaws make the reader want to hug and wrap up in our arms and let them know they're safe for now The minutiae of their actions constitute some of the most poignoint moments I have ever read when the shy little girl points to the artist's drawing of their street and asks meekly asks will the dog go there? my heart melted When the girl with short hair and glasses realizes two tea cups on a table can be a beautiful thing I nearly criedThis book is full of lovely characters doing those kinds of lovely things I stood in awe of McGregor's ability to draw out the beauty and greatness in the most average of people It's not only the people but the narratives in which they play from the profoundly momentous to the profoundly mundane McGregor reveals the importance in every moment of life in this excellent novelIf nobody speaks of remarkable things then nobody will notice how remarkable they truly are This novel speaks of the most ordinary things and in doing so shows us they are uite simply remarkableHighly recommended

  8. says:

    Before picking up this book you should know a few things Punctuation is lacking Characters are for the most part not given names This is a mystery a puzzle to be solvedDue to lack of punctuation perhaps an audiobook is the format to choose? I am glad I did Characters are identified through their physical attributes their behavioral ticks and the number of their lodging on a street in a town somewhere in northern England A completely unremarkable town and unremarkable people There is a family with mother and father a daughter and twin boys A kid on a tricycle A girl with suare glasses A widower with scarred hands and his young daughter A boy in his early twenties with dry irritated eyes who takes photos collects junk and records what he sees An architect student An elderly man with his wife; he is harboring a terrible secret Up in an attic apartment a couple in the throes of passion A girl chasing angels a bungee jumper a guy cleaning his sneakers We return over and over to the different characters and gradually learn bits about them Why does the man have scarred hands? How did the shoe become dirty? What is the secret withheld? To untie the characters to decipher who is who with only scant tidbits of information takes work I made a list of the house numbers and jotted down all that I learned about their respective residentsThis is a mystery Something terrible has happened We know this at the start We watch as the day progresses and the event finally occurs That day is August 31 1997 We watch what happens on that day watch what the residents of numbers 18 and 20 and 11 and 17 and 19 and 22 and 21 and 13 and 20 do We spend five minutes here a glance there flitting from one person to another This is a puzzle There is suspense and the reader works to sort out who is who And of course we are guessing from the start what we think has happened This thread is told by an omniscient narratorThere is another thread A woman there that day looks back and also tell us about her current situation now three years later This thread uses a first person narrator Her current predicament is tied to what happened on that day Both the characters and the events are presented as a mystery a puzzle to be solved Solving the puzzle takes workWe watch and observe the people living their separate lives Ordinary neighbors on a street Then something happens Look at the title One may ask what is so remarkable about these people and their lives My response would be that it is in the ordinary that the remarkable is to be found I like this message The lines read as a prose poem The writing is lyrical and contemplative Besides the book’s message it is the writing that drew meI was bored at times For example there is that guy cleaning a shoe and we return to him again and again and he is still cleaning that shoe I was annoyed at how information is teasingly revealed I felt I was part of a game I didn’t want to play I want to get close to characters That does not happen here; we observe we watch we are on the outside There is little dialog That the woman speaking three years later is view spoilerpregnant with twins is simply dropped in thin air hide spoiler

  9. says:

    If nobody speaks of incredibly mundane thingsTo be fair I've never much cared for this particular style of writing The present tense prose is a little too sparse for my taste The narrative structure a little too self conscious There's a deliberately generic uality to the setting and characters I suppose this was done to emphasize the basic human condition But how can you love your characters if you don't even name them?This sort of book alienates me in a way because everyone is generically alikeand no one is anything like me It makes me feel a little angry at Jon McGregor No one speaks for everyone Even his outsiders are so normalized as to be painted right out of existenceThere's only one truly significant event in the story but the specifics of that event are withheld until the very end of the book Apparently McGregor is making the argument that the minute and unremarked upon details of one's day are truly remarkable for some reason And perhaps he's also trying to say that dramatic and unremarked upon events get drowned out by everyday minutia And yes certainly we're meant to notice all the little things that could possibly result in a yet ambiguous tragedy In any case the never ending minutia bored me to death I just can't bring myself to care about the contents of Everyman's medicine cabinet Incidentally there are entirely too many bathroom scenes in this book Save some of the mystery baby I'm just sayin'And that's not the only story element that's excruciatingly repetitive There are the constant references to names and anonymity And the constant fake outs The narrative has so much back tracking and ominous foreshadowing you want to scream Someone just die alreadywhich is generally frowned upon in polite societyEvery so often I'll a see a negative goodreads review of a book that I love The reviewer will say something like This was a whole lot of nothing Who cares? And I'll think No no you don't get it It's a multi layered and poignant tale ofwell usually alienationThis book to me was a whole lot of nothing But maybe I just don't get contemporary literatureOh well

  10. says:

    Discrete poetic whispers of moments The means by which they connect or disconnectI cannot write a review now just finishing reading but possiblyno there is no future only now and all there is to see to know to feel; to read and reread this book over and again To live in this world The moment of this worldWithout realizing I mouth the words as I read chanting a somnambulistic prayer a murmured choir a pulse on its tremble of its next beat Consciousness spreading sharpening honed to a cabalistic point Is it possible for one to continue living the life one knew The sealed casing of Kafka”s axe broken open wideThen the awe of the knitting needles twirling in blurred images somehow holding it all together and with infinite care delicately purls the minute threading into its barely seen connecting pattern and a harsh gasp at the endSo tempting to sweep up the scattered remains of an existence I once called my own and spend the afternoon resettling things back into place The alternative is to move without packing What looks like now an empty endless road with no markings to gain bearings But what of the flutter of ghosts? Remarkable things happen; happen all the time are happening right now; and now to live newly within them; guideless

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