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Everything You Need: A Novel by A.L. Kennedy
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Everything You Need: A Novel (original 1999; edition 2002)

by A.L. Kennedy

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338454,675 (3.7)15
From the prodigiously talented A. L. Kennedy comes a flamboyantly stylish and fiercely emotional novel about fathers and daughters, creation and self-destruction, and love’s paradoxical power to heal its most devastated victims. One such victim is Nathan Staples, a writer whose hilarious contempt for humanity is surpassed only by his corrosive self-loathing. Along with five equally dysfunctional colleagues Nathan lives on an island retreat off the coast of Wales, where he yearns for the daughter he lost years before. Now, in defiance of all his hopes, Mary Lamb–herself an aspiring writer–is about to join him as the seventh member of the colony. As Nathan tortuously wins the trust of the child who has no inkling of their true relationship, Mary comes to a gradual understanding of her gift. In Everything You Need, A. L. Kennedy combines the mythic resonance of Arthurian legend with a sensibility as lyrical as it is profane. From the Trade Paperback edition.… (more)
Member:jackdeighton
Title:Everything You Need: A Novel
Authors:A.L. Kennedy
Info:Vintage (2002), Paperback, 560 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Scottish Fiction

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Everything You Need by A. L. Kennedy (1999)

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» See also 15 mentions

English (3)  German (1)  All languages (4)
Showing 3 of 3
Jesus, this wounded mess is indeed perfect for the heartbroken, the shattered, those that sup on debris and mourn the light. Amazing chunks and weaves of this novel remain intact eleven years later, an amazing feat. Kennedy is both personal and palpable, ultimately relentless, her charatcers you empathize with to the horizons of self-mutilation and abnegation. This novel is laden with resounding slaps and warm, musky hugs. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
I’m going to try really hard not to gush here, but I’m obsessed with this book. I couldn't put it down. The writing is flawless, the story is intriguing, the characters are palpable…lovelovelove. ( )
  SadieBabie | Jun 23, 2018 |
Mary Lamb has been accepted to join a writing colony. She must leave her much beloved “uncles” and move to Foal Island where the colony is located. Her uncles are her real uncle and his partner. They have raised her since she was a little girl. The uncles are two of the most adorable characters that I have come across in fiction in a long time.

The colony consists of:

Joe, who is the founder and leader of the colony. He quit writing years ago. He is the stoic, calm voice of reason.

Nathan Staples (our hero, or anti-hero?), who has written a decent novel, but has mostly made his living writing cheap romantic / murder / gore books. His editor and best friend, J.D. (who is a hilarious drunk), wants him to write another “proper” novel. J.D. lives in London. Nathan had to have a lung removed and must visit London frequently for medical checkups. While there, he and J.D. often drink heavily and attend publishing parties that they hate.

Ruth, who was once bitten by a shark and is obsessed with talking about sharks.

Linda, who has an overwhelming sexual appetite and has a curious obsession with certain vegetables.

Richard, who lives with Linda. His right arm is shorter than his left and he feels that Linda only likes him because of what she can do with his small arm.

Louis, who is the elderly historian of the colony.

Mary Lamb, the newest resident.

An unofficial member of the colony is Eckless, Nathan’s very lovable dog. Eckless’s name was originally Reckless, but Sarah (Joe’s young daughter that he only gets to see when his ex-wife feels like letting her visit) couldn’t pronounce “Reckless” and could only say “Eckless” so everyone started calling him Eckless.

The main story centers around the fact that Nathan is really Mary’s father, but she does not know it. He wants to tell her but can never seem to manage. He spends close to seven years trying to work up the nerve to tell her. He is her writing mentor and they develop a very close relationship. Nathan is still very much in love with her mother (and his ex-wife), Maura. The proper novel that Nathan finally writes is about him, Maura and Mary, and pages of the draft are interspersed throughout the novel.

I enjoyed the book but did not find it as good as Kennedy’s "Paradise". I thought it was too long (at 566 pages). I thought that some passages were unnecessary. For instance, I don’t understand why Mary’s romantic relationship with Jonathan was even included. It added nothing to the story and Jonathan was a very hollow character. Also, the ending was sort of a letdown for me.

This wasn’t one of my favorite novels but Kennedy still remains one of my favorite writers. She is a brilliant writer and I will read anything I can find by her. ( )
1 vote Quixada | Feb 17, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
A. L. Kennedyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Biçen, AslıTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gossije, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herzke, IngoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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