So Many Ways To Begin by Jon McGregor

In books read on September 30, 2006

This book has a long prologue entirely written in italics. I decided I hated the book and I might as well skip the unreadable prologue and see if the chapters were any better. They were.

I liked the way the story was put together by a museum creator handling objects from his family's past and recalling stories associated with them. I also liked the way all the speech was reported with not a quote mark in sight. The story itself isn't anything remarkable; it's just a very nicely told tale of fairly ordinary happenings that are kind of out of the ordinary in themselves. Hard to explain.

I went back and read the italicised prologue when I reached the end of the book. I don't think I missed anything; all it does is confirm that something that happens at the end of the story happened how you thought it did from reading the rest of the book. Seemed to be spoiler like to me. I thought the book was better off without it anyway.


2 Responses to “So Many Ways To Begin by Jon McGregor”

  1. The point of the italicised prologue is to give the story of Mary Friel, but which one? It is suggested that it is David’s real mother, but in fact it is more likely to be the story of the other Mary Friel in the book who he goes to see in Ireland. David is looking for the Mary Friel who gave her real name, but the Mary Friel in the prologue gives the name Bridget Kirwan from Galway…and her child is taken away, not given away. Something to think about anyway. I think the prologue has more significance than you think.

  2. Yes, that was what I got from the prologue too. It’s the story of the “mother” he finds and the details give away the fact that she isn’t his mother. I don’t see what other significance it has really.

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