A novel like a poem: If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things, by Jon McGregor

Editor's Note: At the time I wrote this, McGregor had no further novels, but now, nine years later, he does. Also, I am not sure if I knew when I wrote this that he was local, not to the town in Leicestershire where I lived, but to the city, Nottingham, where I worked, a city that started to almost feel like a hometown to me. He has come into the recognition I felt he deserved back then, and the novel is now referred to as "critically acclaimed" on Alibris.

The first, and so far, I believe, only novel by Jon McGregor, this is a book that needs more recognition. Reviewers liked it - a lot - and so did I. It is written in a poetic style like a long poem in blank verse. Many of the main characters in the story are never named but are referred to by the house number on the street where the "remarkable things" take place. The story is also like a Greek tragedy, in that almost all of the action takes place in a very short space of time, and on a single street in a typical Northern English city. The street is not a posh or fashionable one; most of the inhabitants are students or immigrants or disabled. There are children playing in the street, which doesn't happen so much in the upscale neighbourhoods. There are people making love in the afternoon, there are very old people who stand at the window and see what goes on in the street. This is an elegaic story, a story full of wonder and melancholy and miracles and disasters and minute observation of the everyday. It's not like any other novel you have ever read.

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