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Checkout 19 (2021)

by Claire-Louise Bennett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3981563,575 (3.19)21
Fiction. Literature. HTML:A NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR AND A NEW YORKER "ESSENTIAL READ"
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORKER AND VOGUE

â??Bennett writes like no one else. She is a rare talent, and Checkout 19 is a masterful novel.â?ť â??Karl Ove Knausgaard
From the author of the â??dazzling. . . . and daringâ?ť Pond (O magazine), the adventures of a young woman discovering her own genius, through the people she meetsâ??and dreams upâ??along the way.

In a working-class town in a county west of London, a schoolgirl scribbles stories in the back pages of her exercise book, intoxicated by the first sparks of her imagination.  As she grows, everything and everyone she encounters become fuel for a burning talent. The large Russian man in the ancient maroon car who careens around the grocery store where she works as a checkout clerk, and slips her a copy of Beyond Good and Evil. The growing heaps of other books in which she losesâ??and findsâ??herself. Even the derailing of a friendship, in a devastating violation. The thrill of learning to conjure characters and scenarios in her head is matched by the exhilaration of forging her own way in the world, the two kinds of ingenuity kindling to a brilliant conflagration.
Exceeding the extraordinary promise of Bennettâ??s mold-shattering debut, Checkout 19 is a radical affirmation of the power of the imagination and the magic escape those
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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
What’s a book? What a book!
A slow read for a book of this length, but in a good way.
Frequent pauses for thought as a word, sentence, passage prompted the most unexpected and random memories to rise to the surface.
Growing up somewhere in the south west, sketches from the classroom and life as a student flow freely into the fantastical worlds of Tarquin Superbus and the sewing sister in a continuous stream of consciousness hinting that one thing can lead to another, can’t it. Yes, it can.
Disturbing, exhilarating and evocative. Powerful, imaginative and amusing.
I, we, and she. Reading, writing and possessing.
This is a masterful and cleverly written book that will stay with me for a long time.
“So, I expect you’ve already read Checkout 19, eh?” asked a friend. No, but I have now and chances are I will again.
Check it out! ( )
  geraldine_croft | Mar 21, 2024 |
Did not enjoy. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
Pushes you right off your comfy chair. ( )
  RachelGMB | Dec 27, 2023 |
Pushes you right off your comfy chair. ( )
  RachelGMB | Dec 27, 2023 |
This is a stream-of-consciousness novel about reading and writing. The narrator talks about how she read books as a kid, lists the books she had and had not read at a certain age, describes some pivotal moments in her life, and describes in great detail a novel that she wrote (and, like Borges's map, in describing the novel, she essentially writes it again). The thread that ties all of this together is the extent to which books - both those she reads and those she writes - do and do not relate to real life. In particular, she focuses on the scene in A Room With A View where Lucy witnesses the murder of the Italian man in the piazza. As the narrator travels to Venice, and experiences her own upheavals in life, she comes back to that scene and how her own experience was similar or different. Since the book is stream-of-consciousness, it seems to ramble very arbitrarily, but there is a stunning moment towards the end of the book when the whole thing comes into very sharp focus. This is not an easy book to read, but Bennett is brilliant and the payoff is worth it. ( )
1 vote Gwendydd | Oct 14, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Believe me, expression is insanity, it arises out of our insanity. It also has to do with turning pages, with hunting from one page to the other, with flight, with complicity in an absurd, gushing effusion, with a vile overflow of verse, with insuring life in a single sentence, and, in turn, with the sentences seeking insurance in life.

—Malina, Ingeborg Bachmann, 1971
There is at times a magic in identity of position; it is one of the things that have suggested to us eternal comradeship. She moved her elbows before saying: "I have behaved ridiculously."
—A Room with a View, E. M. Forster, 1908
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Later on we often had a book with us.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:A NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR AND A NEW YORKER "ESSENTIAL READ"
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORKER AND VOGUE

â??Bennett writes like no one else. She is a rare talent, and Checkout 19 is a masterful novel.â?ť â??Karl Ove Knausgaard
From the author of the â??dazzling. . . . and daringâ?ť Pond (O magazine), the adventures of a young woman discovering her own genius, through the people she meetsâ??and dreams upâ??along the way.

In a working-class town in a county west of London, a schoolgirl scribbles stories in the back pages of her exercise book, intoxicated by the first sparks of her imagination.  As she grows, everything and everyone she encounters become fuel for a burning talent. The large Russian man in the ancient maroon car who careens around the grocery store where she works as a checkout clerk, and slips her a copy of Beyond Good and Evil. The growing heaps of other books in which she losesâ??and findsâ??herself. Even the derailing of a friendship, in a devastating violation. The thrill of learning to conjure characters and scenarios in her head is matched by the exhilaration of forging her own way in the world, the two kinds of ingenuity kindling to a brilliant conflagration.
Exceeding the extraordinary promise of Bennettâ??s mold-shattering debut, Checkout 19 is a radical affirmation of the power of the imagination and the magic escape those

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