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If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon…

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (edition 2003)

by Jon McGregor

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1,288476,082 (3.88)39
Title:If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
Authors:Jon McGregor
Info:Mariner Books (2003), Edition: None, Paperback, 275 pages
Collections:Public Library Reads, Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, short fiction, library book

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If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor


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I found this book on the "staff picks" shelf at the library; I was intrigued by the title, and it looked well-read, so I snagged it. I loved it, found it poignant and lyrical and astonishingly beautiful. It has virtually no plot, lots of nameless characters, almost no punctuation, a bit of poetic formatting and a few other "literary" quirks that would often put me right off. (In fact a fair number of reviewers here have said, in effect, "Oh, please. A little less cleverness, mate.") For some reason in this case, I fell right into the seeming hodgepodge of character vignettes and back-and-forth action without minding the overtly prize-worthy style at all. The action all takes place on one day in one urban neighborhood in a city that has no name either, but there are references to the back-stories of many of the characters. Eventually we see the remarkable bits peeking out of the ordinary and oft-repeated events of their lives.
Review written in June 2012 ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Oct 5, 2017 |
"Chi l'ascolta lo sa.
La città canta.
Se stai in silenzio ai piedi d'un giardino, in mezzo alla strada, sul tetto d'una casa.
Di notte la sua voce si fa più nitida e giunge fino in fondo al cuore attraversando la superficie delle cose.
È un canto quasi sempre senza parole, ma un canto nondimeno, e chi lo ascolta sa bene di cosa parli.
Prova a distinguere ciascuna nota e lo sentirai risuonare ancor di più."


una città si risveglia… è l’ultimo giorno d’agosto.
in una strada, ogni persona è un numero - il civico in cui vive.
è così che li conosciamo… dietro ogni numero un universo, una storia a sé.
è così che li seguiamo in questa tiepida e pigra giornata di fine estate.
e tra piccole faccende e momenti banali, eccoli... quei fuggevoli attimi in cui si rivela la bellezza lieve della vita, che riescono ad emergere a volte - basta saper guardare – e che, come istantanee, si imprimeranno nella memoria… anche nei drammatici istanti che precedono l’ineluttabile tragedia.
e tutto diventa silenzio.

la vita continua.


"Figlia mia, dice l'uomo con un tono di voce in cui è racchiuso tutto l'amore di cui è capace, figlia mia, cerca sempre di guardare con tutti e due gli occhi, ascolta sempre con tutte e due le orecchie. Questo è un grande mondo e ci sono molte, molte cose che potrebbero sfuggirti se non vi presti attenzione. In ogni momento succedono cose meravigliose proprio davanti a noi, ma i nostri occhi assomigliano al sole quando è velato dalle nuvole, e allora le nostre vite diventano scialbe e desolate, perché non riusciamo a vedere la realtà per quello che è davvero.
Se nessuno parla mai di cose meravigliose, come possono avvenire cose meravigliose?"
( )
  cry6379 | Sep 17, 2017 |
Really don't know what to say about this other than wow. Spectacular. ( )
  boobellina | Jul 12, 2017 |
Really don't know what to say about this other than wow. Spectacular. ( )
  boobellina | Jul 12, 2017 |
Frustrating at points (one of those books you don't really understand until the end) but well worth it. McGregor's poetic prose is captivating and his story unfolds through unremarkable, achingly human moments coming together in a miraculous finish. Wow. ( )
  hungrylittlebookworm | Mar 27, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0747561575, Paperback)

'This novel owes as much to poetry as it does to prose. Its opening, an invocation of the life of the city, is strongly reminiscent of Auden's Night Mail in its hypnotic portrait of industrialised society...An assured debut' Erica Wagner, The Times. 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. 'The work of a burning new talent ...Jon MacGregor writes like a lyrical angel' Daily Mail

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

On a street in a town in the North of England, perfectly ordinary people are doing totally normal things. But a terrible event shatters the quiet of the summer evening and no one who witnesses it will ever be the same again.

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