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This is How by M. J. Hyland (2009)

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
In M.J. Hyland's multi-award nominated third novel, Patrick Oxtoby's girlfriend Sarah has broken off their relationship. Feeling betrayed and humiliated, Patrick takes a drastic course of action: he leaves his home (along with the interference of his mother and his father's silent disapproval) and settles in a distant seaside town, where he intends to shrug off his emotional baggage and history of failure and start a new life. A university dropout who found a niche as a car mechanic, Patrick is not exactly a loner and certainly not a sociopath, but he is rarely at ease in the company of others, especially strangers. In the rooming house where he takes up residence, there is only him, the owner Bridget, and two other male lodgers, Shaun Flindall and Ian Welkin. In his early twenties, Patrick is the youngest, and he finds himself mostly outside looking in at the apparently easy camaraderie of the other three. Sitting alone in his room, he listens to the noises in the house and wonders what they are up to, if Bridget is in a relationship with either of the others, if they are talking about him. Welkin in particular causes him grief, with sporadic bursts of self pity, mocking and aggressive overtures of friendship, and sometimes obnoxious behaviour. When Flindall leaves for a job elsewhere, Welkin becomes even more difficult, and Patrick grows suspicious of Welkin's motives. Then a petty theft leads to an outburst of violence, and Patrick's life has changed forever. M.J. Hyland has written a taut novel of psychological suspense that is not always easy to read. Her portrait of an emotionally stunted young man desperately seeking a place in a world that only confounds and frustrates him is both chilling and touching. The "home" that Patrick eventually discovers is startling and unexpected, but makes complete sense in the context of the story that Hyland weaves. This is one of those novels that pulls the reader into a world where we don't necessarily want to go, but are unable to resist. ( )
  icolford | Mar 25, 2017 |
Utterly gorgeous. The narrowing of Patrick's charmed, middle class life is so subtle and natural (even though there's a murder and complete loss of everything once held dear) that it seems undeniable, inevitable. I was engrossed from the first page and surprised at every turn. Hyland's prose is stripped and careful, never bossy. I'm looking forward to finding her other books. ( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
Utterly gorgeous. The narrowing of Patrick's charmed, middle class life is so subtle and natural (even though there's a murder and complete loss of everything once held dear) that it seems undeniable, inevitable. I was engrossed from the first page and surprised at every turn. Hyland's prose is stripped and careful, never bossy. I'm looking forward to finding her other books. ( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
A very good book, I just wanted to continue on reading, finding out more about the rest of his life... ( )
  ScarletBea | Apr 4, 2013 |
Maria Hyland is a superb writer, with a great prose style. Why this novel didn't make it to the Booker Prize defeats me! It is beautifully written and compelling. It's the kind of novel you will be recommending to all your serious reading pals. With a fresh emphatic prose style that picks the reader up and rushes them along, this wonderful novel deserves wide exposure and a large readership. Sympathetic, elegant, and sensitive. Hyland has been close to winning many awards, and this is perhaps her best novel. She is the author of three multi award-winning novels. How the Light Gets In (2003) was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize; Carry Me Down (2006) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was winner of both the Hawthornden and Encore Prizes (2007), and This is How (2009), was longlisted for both the Orange Prize and the Dublin International IMPAC Prize in 2009. Hyland's short story, Rag Love, was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2011. J M Coetzee wrote, 'Fiction writing of the first order' and Hilary Mantel wrote, 'When you've been reading Hyland other writers seem to lack integrity; she aims straight for the truth and the heart.' ( )
1 vote kettle666 | Feb 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
She makes it look so simple, with her words of one syllable, with a style almost entirely devoid of affect; but there is nothing simplistic about her achievement. “This Is How” is an unflinching, absorbing, morally complex portrait of one life gone suddenly and terribly awry.
 
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'Everything unconditional belongs in pathology.' NIETZSCHE
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For Julian Owen
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I put my bags down on the doorstep and knock three times.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 155468501X, Paperback)

M. J. Hyland is the multi-award-winning and Man Booker-shortlisted author of Carry Me Down. Her third novel, This Is How, is a psychologically probing and deeply moving account of a perpetual outsider longing to find his niche. When Patrick Oxtoby’ s fianc?e breaks off their engagement, he leaves home and moves to a remote seaside village. In spite of his hopes for a new and better life, Patrick struggles to fit in and make the right impression. Certain that his new friends are conspiring against him, and with his already fragile personality further fractured, he takes a course of action that permanently alters his life.

This Is How is a mesmerizing and meticulously drawn portrait of a man whose unease in the world leads to his tragic undoing. With breathtaking wisdom and astute insight into the human mind, Hyland’ s latest is a masterpiece that arouses horror and sympathy in equal measure.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Portrait of a man whose unease in the world leads to his tragic undoing.

(summary from another edition)

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Canongate Books

2 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 1847673821, 184767383X

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921520531, 1921656484

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