The decision to reveal the "big incident" at the end of the book is counter-productive: at that point I had already figured out what was going to happen - and was actually expecting something more (an alien abduction, maybe?).
It would have benefited from better characterization, and a bit more plot.
a 'visual' book, the prose is not narrative, it's like watching the scene yourself, you can imagine the camera moving in and out the houses on the street. Loved it.
I loved the broken style it was written in.
Jon McGregor has created a work which is Joyceian in style. Rather than focusing on one person in one day, like Ulysses, this is the tale of one event and several people. This brings a much more developed description of life, as it pinpoints every day minutiae of living, whereas Ulysses works on the big picture to describe the details.
The speech has no punctuation, which leaves the reader out of the action, and becomes merely an observer to the tale. The words are not spoken, but related as a statement of events, like a character witness. The lack of full stops in the rain brings a sense of urgency and pace to the flow of the book, whereas elsewhere it feels sluggish enough to notice everything as a repetitive constant.
The decision to follow the life of one person three years in the future allows the stream of consciousness to be fully explored in first and third person narratives, and they complement each other wonderfully. It also allows for a subtle implication of the inextricable link between twins, of which there are 3 pairs in the novel, and numerous other 'couples', such as the 2 girls with blonde hair and glasses; the teenagers locked in each others arms and the elderly couple. They are described more like single beings than individuals, and it helps to highlight the frustrating loneliness of the solitary characters, such as those of the man with scarred hands, his daughter, and the main character's father.
As a perspective on life from a 3rd party viewpoint, it is brilliant prose worthy of the style; and as a case study on living in it, it stands as an explanation that answers are rarely available....Continua