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If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

Cover of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

WINNER OF THE BETTY TRASK AWARDWINNER OF THE SOMERSET MAUGHAM AWARDLONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 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.
WINNER OF THE BETTY TRASK AWARDWINNER OF THE SOMERSET MAUGHAM AWARDLONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 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.
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About the Author-
  • Jon McGregor is the author of four novels and a story collection. He is the winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literature Prize, Betty Trask Prize, and Somerset Maugham Award, and has twice been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham, where he edits The Letters Page, a literary journal in letters. He was born in Bermuda in 1976, grew up in Norfolk, and now lives in Nottingham.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 27, 2003
    McGregor's poignant, Booker-nominated debut examines in loving detail a day in the lives of the inhabitants of a single British block. It is a day like any other—a woman prepares breakfast for her family, boys play cricket, a man washes his car—until a terrible accident occurs, which is witnessed by all the neighbors but concealed from readers until the novel's end. Drifting from apartment to house to yard, McGregor reveals the stories found in each: there is the couple who fight bitterly and have brilliant sex; the man with hands scarred from trying, unsuccessfully, to save his wife from a fire; the aging veteran keeping from his wife the truth of his imminent demise. Weaving through these tales of the transcendental ordinary is the first-person narrative of a girl coming to terms with her unexpected pregnancy after a one-night stand. Her lover's twin brother arrives to drive her to her parents, but doesn't tell her the truth about his brother's absence; the girl's mother has her own secrets. McGregor's rapt attention to the exquisiteness of daily life sometimes makes his details ring falsely portentous, and his unwavering focus on minutiae—rain, traffic lights—can be wearying. But as the man with the scarred hands remarks, "there are many things you could miss if you are not paying careful attention. There are remarkable things all the time." This is the guiding principle of McGregor's novel, one that requires patience but yields ample rewards.

  • AudioFile Magazine Set in the North Country, this debut novel continues the glum genre of British working-class fiction. Here we get a whole city block of plain folk of varying backgrounds and worldviews. All are described in the third person, except for a young woman who, unmarried and pregnant, tells her own story. We begin with a horrific event and a flashback to the events of the day that preceded it. The romanticized characters are vivified by the acutely expressive and poetic interpretation of Jilly Bond. She takes her cue from the words of one of the characters, who asks, "If nobody speaks of remarkable things, how will anyone know they're remarkable?" Bond makes the small lives she limns sound remarkable, as they would seem to a child experiencing them for the first time. Y.R. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine
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If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
Jon McGregor
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