- By Jon McGregor

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

  • Title: If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
  • Author: Jon McGregor
  • ISBN: 9780618344581
  • Page: 482
  • Format: Paperback
  • If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things 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 I

    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 tour de force that could be described as Altmanesque, we are invited into the private lives of the residents of a quiet urban street in England over the course of aRisky 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 tour de force that could be described as Altmanesque, we are invited into the private lives of the residents of a quiet 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 clubgoers just home from an all night rave, sweetly high and mulling over vague dreams the nervous young man at number 18 who collects weird urban junk and is haunted by the specter of unrequited love The tranquillity 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 exquisite 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.

    1 thought on “If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

    1. “He says, if nobody speaks of remarkable things, how can they be called remarkable?” (239)A 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 quiescence 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 p [...]

    2. 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 la [...]

    3. If you start into this book looking for a conventional, plot-driven story, you might be disappointed. This is more like a motion picture put in words, exquisitely 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 t [...]

    4. 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 important.He 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 it.I 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 [...]

    5. 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 choice.I didn’t read INSoRT at the time, and I’m not too sure I would have liked it if I did, althou [...]

    6. 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 becaus [...]

    7. 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 city.The 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, t [...]

    8. 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 solved.Due 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 [...]

    9. this is an interesting novel which was nominated for the booker prize.written almost like a prose poem, it is the story of a group of people living in one block somewhere in englandry few of the characters are given names, they are identified solely by their flat numbers (the boy in number 18, for example) the very beginning of the book an unnamed tragedy occurs and you have to wait almost 275 pages to find out what happened.unfortunately after all this time, the ending is weak, which i had read [...]

    10. In this non-conventional book the author talks about the everyday lives of the citizens of a certain neighborhood in the UK. He writes the phrases in such a way that everything these un-named characters do seems remarkable. Every single trivial action they do is written in such a poetic way as to seem remarkable. They don't have names (they are only identified by the number of the apartment they stay in or by certain features) and this anonymity seems to indicate that this story could apply to a [...]

    11. 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 quality 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 generi [...]

    12. There is nothing remarkable about the characters of this book. They are ordinary neighbors of a run-down neighborhood, living their ordinary lives, going through their ordinary routines, talking about ordinary things. Yet Jon McGregor, the author of "If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things" subtly shows us that the ordinary can be and is remarkable. He traces the lives of a group of people living in the same street, connected only by this fact, during a period of one day. We also get to know one o [...]

    13. I came to this book many years after its publication after reading McGregor’s latest brilliant book Reservoir 13, and was interested to read his debut novel (also Booker longlisted like 3 of his four novels to date).What I found interesting was to contrast the two booksLoaded Gun: One of the most fascinating aspects of “Reservoir 13” is that is starts with what seems to be the obvious plot point – the disappearance of the teenage girl – and, in contrast to normal fictional practice, ne [...]

    14. This book had so little in the way of plot or character development (in fact, we never learn the name of nearly everyone) that I am not sure it qualifies as a novel. I am surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Maybe the relatively short length kept me from losing patience with the highly descriptive tone of it. This is the account of one late summer day in the lives of the residents on a block of flats. I felt like a voyeur as the literary camera swung into flat after flat exposing the ac [...]

    15. I thought I would re-read “if nobody speaks of remarkable things” as it had been a few years since I last read it. I remember being very impressed by Jon McGregor when I initially read the book (I was going through a phase of reading debut novels at the time).McGregor’s writing style is poetic; beautifully and meticulously structured. The story of a single day slowly unfolds through a series of little vignettes that slowly connect together, like projections on gauze. The narrative develops [...]

    16. “He sees a boy and a girl, the boy is sleeping, they are both naked and tangled up in each other, the light in the room is clean and golden and happiness is seeping out through the window, the girl looks at him and smiles and whispers good afternoon.” ~ If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, Jon McGregorThis was an amazing book. Gorgeously written, and it seems to bring forth some beautiful, eloquent version of reality. It’s set in the suburbs of England, on a single street, and alternates [...]

    17. This book scores incredibly highly on the modern literature gimmickry checklist. Let's see now Not a speech mark in the placeCHECK Hardly any of the characters namedECK Hanging paragraphs that's innovativeECK Speech reported warts and all so it takes three readings of each sentence to make out what is being said CHECK Most of the commas and a good few full-stops left outECK On that basis it should be a bestseller! The trouble is it's a tough read, made tougher by the fact that the event central [...]

    18. Jon McGregor, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (Houghton Mifflin, 2002)In a general, very oversimplified sense, the reason we, as humans, have names is as a way to distinguish us from one another. When I was a small writer, knee-high to a grasshopper (actually, as my parents will tell you, I was never less than knee-high to a baluchitherium, but that's beside the point), one of the things I always thought would be cool was to write a novel that had no names whatsoever in it, where everyone [...]

    19. Sheer prose.If you are the type of reader that must re-read a beautiful sentence just for the joy of reading a beautiful sentence, or catch your breath when reading a description too perfect for words, then this is the book for you. It's right from the begining, the text is more poem then prose. This is a really well written book, and it draws you right in from the begining - a description of the "song of the city" that you can hear if you just listen to the little sounds going on. very entranci [...]

    20. Total fucking hogwash. The narrative voice of this oppressively twee and heteronormative travesty sounds as though it's coming from a coffin buried sixty feet underground. Does anything happen? No, not really. Some tramp gets pregnant and decides to keep the offspring, some dude goes bungee jumping and a kid gets into a car accident. Zzzzzzz. The author seems to think that the smallest, most boring actions that people make need to be described. He also seems to think that EVERYONE is interesting [...]

    21. A book that beautifuly explores the awe in the mundane, that explores the characters in this one neighbourhood in England and follows them around as they go on about their lives. A marvellous book, but not for everyone. If anything, it will come across as boring to the average reader but it really is only an exercise of the quotidian. The novel leads up to this one main event at its end and it flicks on from the past to the present. It is a slow paced book, with the most detailed descriptions, b [...]

    22. I don't know if "poetic prose" is a thing, but that's how I would classify this. McGregor uses beautifully poetic language to describe the wonders of the mundane, the captured simple moments that define life and make it worth living, but that we so often take for granted. Yes, there is an underlying heavy moment that's hinted at in the very beginning, and the novel builds towards that climax throughout, but the stories that are weaved together are those of ordinary lives lived by ordinary people [...]

    23. Our TownI first encountered Jon McGregor through his 2012 collection of stories, This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You, brilliant, oblique, some wildly inventive, all touchingly human. So I was prepared for something quite unusual from this, his first novel, 2002 Booker nominee and winner of the Somerset Maugham award. But I was not expecting something that, though written in prose, is virtually a poem, beginning thus:If you listen, you can hear it.The city, it sings.If y [...]

    24. This is certainly a beautifully written novel. As in good poetry, form and content embrace, feeding off each other and creating an ephemeral "feel", rather than a story. Somehow, this "feel" manages to separate itself from the language which transports it, rather like the scent of perfume tends to linger after the liquid that carried it has long evaporated. Reading this book requires subtlety - look too hard at what you are reading and you may bring down its delicate structure, think too deeply [...]

    25. One of the best books I've ever read and one of the few I will definitely re-read. I fell in love from the very first page. The opening is beautifully poetic and although nothing really happened I was hooked and hoping that nothing continued to happen so that I could enjoy the prose. Things did begin to happen, although they were every-day, mundane, unremarkable things made interesting by the writing. The "chapters" alternate between the detailed, wonderful description of a typical late Summers [...]

    26. Beautiful story and great form. A reminder to all that within each person there is a uniqueness of experience. We can not be known by name or address or outward appearance alone. In each there lies love, tragedy, desperation. But until we speak of what we have lived and how we have lived and what that same life has shaped us into then we do not speak at all, especially of those beautiful, horrible, magical, lonely remarkable things.

    27. I really liked this. It took me a while to get used to the writing style, but about a third of the way through I was hooked. It was beautifully written and one that I would love to read again. I loved the way the book forced me to examine my own life and outlook, and I found reading this an almost cathartic experience. A very powerful book, yet simply written.

    28. Read about this author in the New Yorker, but my first attempt to get a book of his failed. I then consulted ' lookup and found that this one is by far the most widely read. An inter-library loan from the Bangor Public library.So, I'm currently focused on reading only one book(rare for me these days) so that I'll be able to finish it before I have to take it back. No renewals for inter-library loans! But I have checked this out a bit and I'm not optimistic based on what I've read so far. This l [...]

    29. If nobody speaks of remarkable things, how are we to know they are remarkable. An observation from one of McGregor's many wonderfully described characters which summarises the novel nicely. The story is fairly straight forward. McGregor present the events and actions of his characters across a period of one day. These take place on an anonymous street in an unnamed northern town. He uses two narrators, one in the third person who sees events unfold in the present and the second in the first pers [...]

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