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Fiction
Author: Jon McGregor
ISBN: 1408809265
Subcategory: Short Stories & Anthologies
Pages 272 pages
Publisher Bloomsbury UK; First Edition edition (February 1, 2012)
Language English
Category: Fiction
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 262
ePUB size: 1558 kb
FB2 size: 1939 kb
DJVU size: 1151 kb
Other formats: doc lrf docx mbr

eBook This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You download

by Jon McGregor


Like You. Jon McGregor. It looked like a difficult thing for him to say. His hands were shaking. She asked him if it couldn’t wait until after she’d done some work, and he said that there was always something else to do, some other reason to wait and to not talk.

Like You. For Éireann Lorsung, & Matthew Welton.

His debut, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, was a novel dedicated to how the tiny mathematics of human lives can have enormous consequences.

These aren't the sort of things you imagine happening to someone like you. But A man builds a tree house by a. . But A man builds a tree house by a river, in anticipation of the coming flood. A sugar-beet crashes through a young woman's windscreen. A boy sets fire to a barn.

The powerful first collection of short stories by Jon McGregor. Now, after publishing three novels, he's turning his considerable talent toward short fiction. The stories in this beautifully wrought collection explore a specific physical world and the people who inhabit it. Set among the lowlands and levees, the fens and ditches that mark the spare landscape of eastern.

Are understood to be within an area of approximately seventeen square miles. Are believed to have been concealed. Are either partially or completely buried. ery or other possessions. May not be suitable for visual identification. Will be treated as a critical evidential scene. Have been the subject of much intrusive and unhelpful press speculation. Continue to be a key focus of questioning.

Jon McGregor's uncanny stories linger long after you have finished them. Jon McGregor is the author of the critically acclaimed If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, So Many Ways To Begin, and Even The Dogs. He quietly inserts distinct, convincing voices into vivid and compelling landscapes. This original, beautiful, and haunting book totally captivated me. ―Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia and National Book Award Finalist Eat the Document. He is the winner of the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award, has twice been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was the runner-up in the 2010 BBC National Short Story Award.

Ten years ago, Jon McGregor's first short story was published in Granta magazine. We are left dangling as the story ends, certain only of the fact that in McGregor's world, terrible things can happen to ordinary people. In Winter The Sky" was about a teenager who, driving back home after a romantic tryst, is so distracted by the warm memory of the girl he has just kissed, that he runs over a man and kills him. He doesn't tell a soul. The collection's title is ironic, and it inverts the moral idea that only the wicked should suffer. Bad things, sad things, even macabre things, happen to the innocent and the good.

Watch Jon McGregor reading from This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like Yo. Encouraged by his doting Aunt Julia, he begins collecting the things that tell his story: a birth certificate, school report cards, annotated cinema and train tickets.

Watch Jon McGregor reading from This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. Jon McGregor discusses This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. Read online. 862. Published: 2012. So Many Ways to Begin. After finishing school, he finds the perfect job for his lifetime obsession as curator at a local history museum. His professional and romantic lives take shape as his beloved aunt and mentor's unravel.

Jon McGregor’s direct, unadorned style couldn’t be more suited to this comfortless . Not a book for bedtime, then. But very, very good indeed.

Jon McGregor’s direct, unadorned style couldn’t be more suited to this comfortless landscape, a place of cooling towers, drainage ditches and endless skies. But there is poetry of a kind, too: Memorial Stone is simply a list of local settlements, divided into -thorpes, -hams and –tons. Throughout, omissions and ellipses set the mind racing like a treacherous tide, rushing in to fill the gaps.

A man builds a tree house by a river, in anticipation of the coming flood. A sugar-beet crashes through a young woman's windscreen. A boy sets fire to a barn. A pair of itinerant labourers sit by a lake, talking about shovels and sex, while fighter-planes fly low overhead and prepare for war. These aren't the sort of things you imagine happening to someone like you. But sometimes they do. Set in the flat and threatened fenland landscape, where the sky is dominant and the sea lurks just beyond the horizon, these delicate, dangerous, and sometimes deeply funny stories tell of things buried and unearthed, of familiar places made strange, and of lives where much is hidden, much is at risk, and tender moments are hard-won.
ᵀᴴᴱ ᴼᴿᴵᴳᴵᴻᴬᴸ
An excellent read.

I bought this expecting a coffee table book, but instead found an incredibly multi-dimensional world with relatable characters and brilliant short stories. It more than worth the price.

Put down the Da Vinci Code and read something thought for 15 minutes. It's worth it.
Nejind
Jon McGregor doesn't so much tell stories as invite the reader to find them. Take the first two items in this collection, one short, the other fairly long. "That Colour" is a single paragraph of just over a page. A woman standing in the front row of a cottage calls to a man washing dishes in the kitchen to come and look at the autumnal leaves over the road. He finishes the washing; he comes to her; he takes her hand. That is all. But the writing makes you ask questions -- about their relationship, their ages, their history, their mental health -- and your questions are the heart of this beautiful story.

The second story, "In Winter the Sky," is much longer. But more than that, it is composed of two separate layers. The main one is about a man confessing to his wife about something that happened when they were courting, years before. But every few paragraphs, in the Kindle edition, you get a phrase formatted as a hyperlink. Click on it, and you see what seems like the draft of a fragment of a poem, apparently written by the wife, with alternate texts and crossings-out. [In print editions, these appear on facing pages.] The relevance of the poems is evocative rather than literal; their images distill the flat fenland country of East Lincolnshire in which all these stories are set. Eventually, you get crossings-out in the prose text too, as if facts could be changed by the manner in which you tell them; as though the mistakes of life could be edited away. And all this in a landscape perpetually subject to editing of a physical kind, as frequent floods erase and rearrange the land.

Every story in the collection is headed with the name of a place, often just a small village you can hardly see on the map. Two of the stories are set elsewhere, but feature people from the same area; another appears to be set in New York, but not in the way you expect. The Fenland is a country of scattered dwellings and loneliness; many of the characters in the story are sad and isolated, nursing self-inflicted wounds from broken marriages or one terrible mistake. One of the saddest stories, "Keeping Watch over the Sheep," shows a disgraced father being turned away from the school auditorium where his daughter in performing in her first Nativity Play. Another divorced man appears in "If It Keeps On Raining," exiled to a desolate cottage on a river bank; but this, one of the longest in the book, turns into a doomsday scenario anticipating the results of global warming.

The doomsday theme increases towards the end of the book, in stories which are even more radically experimental in form. "Supplementary Notes to the Testimony of Appellants B & E," for example, is just that: footnotes to some kind of legal inquiry, that you gradually work out as relating to a group of children forced to flee Eastern England as war refugees. "The Last Ditch" is more complex still, consisting of notes preparing a commune to withstand possible siege, footnotes to those notes, further notes added by some central authority that has managed to get hold of the document, and finally a set of action recommendations -- all utterly chilling, as though the Branch Davidians had moved from Waco, Texas, to Lincolnshire, England.

I started this review intending to give the collection only four stars, for despite the brilliant innovation of some of the stories, there are just too many of them: thirty in all, some little more than a line or two in length. But as I pick out the best among them, I don't see how I can award less than five. And then there are the stories which are not experimental at all, or even especially oblique, but quite simply human. As is the vicar's wife in "Which Reminded Her, Later" who finds it hard to cope when her Good Samaritan husband brings a very strange woman to stay at the vicarage. But uniquely, this couple returns in a later story, "Years of This, Now," in which the balance of their love is reversed. Yes there are some duds, yes there are too many, but these are stories that invite readers to think, to imagine, and, in the best of them, to feel. [4.5 stars]
Nuadora
When I first began reading this volume, I mistakenly thought that perhaps the stories were connected by character. Apparently, however, the intent appears to be a connection through setting: all the stories take place in Lincolnshire (with one exception, which takes place in Japan, in which a main character from the Lincolnshire area is on vacation), and the author is careful to note specific place names. My personal opinion is that the author doesn't succeed on this level: I didn't get a strong sense of place from any of the stories, and most could have taken place anywhere.

Some of the stories are experimental in nature. An early story intersperses a man's tale with the rough draft poems of his wife, who uses the poetry to react to his tale. One story, named Fleeting Complexity (which is linked to the location "Irby in the Marsh") consists, in its entirety, of the sentence "The fire spread quicker than the little bastard was expecting." Which is certainly a great sentence, but a story? Another is constructed as a bureaucratic report. The final story in the collection is Memorial Stone, and it consists of nothing but six pages of place names. All artfully grouped (e.g., places ending in -ham), but still...nothing but place names. I can appreciate that the author enjoys the sounds of the names, but I question whether it qualifies as fiction. I would consider the experimental pieces a mixed bag: some work well (I liked the story I mention above, with interspersed prose and poem), while some left me cold. Again, my opinion.

In the more traditional short stories, my two favorites were linked by characters (a vicar and his wife). A number of the stories are quite engaging. But for me, the collection didn't make me go "wow," as I've done for a few collections (the most recent of which was probably Nathan Englander's).

Note: I have re-written a fair amount of this review after receiving a number of "not helpful" votes on this review linked to the hardback edition, trying to be more specific about why I rated this collection three stars. All I can say is I read it as I read all literary fiction, hoping to discover my new favorite author. Unfortunately I didn't, and I'm not going to pretend that I did. The New York Times Review of Books had a short review of the book, and obviously their reviewer liked it much more than I did...so it'd definitely worth taking a chance on. The above is just my opinion. Caveat emptor.
Anarius
The silly words ("full of surprises," "steady") that Amazon asks for in order to get to the point of being able to write a review just don't do justice to this wonderful collection. I picked it up a year ago, and it's stayed in my mind, to the fore, ever since, from the poetry of sky to the one-line entries, to the mysteries, and, for me, best of all: the love and details of place. (Please check out McGregor's photos of East Anglia for the Guardian.) I simply can't rate this book highly enough - a mixture of Beckett and Hardy (Thomas, not Laurel). Do yourself a favor: switch off the computer and enter into a slow, beautiful world....