Even The Dogs

by Jon McGregor

Monday, February 15, 2010

I didn’t remember that after reading If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things I’d written… ‘Jon McGregor’s next book will very probably be on my “buy instantly in hardback the second it comes out” list.’ …but I did remember enjoying it and I bought this as soon as I saw it in the bookshop. It’s not a hardback but some kind of bendy fabric covered not quite a paperback. This edition came out a week before I bought it, I’m not sure if there was a proper hardback released before it. Anyway, I think I more or less did as I said I would do.

While this book didn’t engage me as ferociously as the previous book I still enjoyed it. The bitty narrative was great and just the kind of thing I was expecting although I did find it a bit impenetrable in places. I found myself flipping back from time to time to reread a previous passage now I’d deciphered the relationship of the characters to each other and to the story. The story centres on the death of a more or less housebound alcoholic and you piece together his life and that of his family and friends, most of whom are heroin users, as you hear different fragments of the story from different people.

It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be hugely interesting and I wonder if I’d have picked the book up if I hadn’t previously liked the author’s work. The multiple voices and jigsaw type storytelling works really well though. And I’ll definitely stick with my view from the last book and will buy McGregor’s next book more or less as soon as it’s out in whatever passes for hardback these days too.