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Everything You Know [Paperback]

ZoŽ Heller
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 July 2005
Willy Muller has survived imprisonment for murdering his wife, the suicide of his daughter Sadie and, most recently, a heart attack. While recuperating he finds himself drawn into the lonely world of her diaries and is reluctantly forced to confrontthe troubling secrets that lie buried in his past.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (28 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140282076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140282078
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 809,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Zoë Heller is the author of three novels: Everything You Know; Notes on a Scandal, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2003; and The Believers.

Product Description


Instantly ranks her among the most interesting and exciting of British writers (Will Self)

Fast paced and finely timed...ambitious and satisfying (Harpers and Queen)

Sharp and feisty...a riotous read (Tatler)

Seamlessly blends the sarcastic and the sincere, the comic and the tragic . . . stylish and spirited (New York Times)

A smashing success (Newsday) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Zoe Heller came to the public's attention with her regular column in The Sunday Times. She is now a high-profile features writer and regular contributor to a number of magazines and newspapers. She lives in New York. EVERYTHING YOU KNOW is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you should read 12 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This is an engaging, thoroughly entertaining book. Ms. Heller manages to inhabit the soul of a middle-aged man and does so so convincingly, you almost forget that it is not a middle-aged man writing. The story is touching and infuriating, moving and maddening. Ms. Heller reinvigorates a tiring genre: the crusty curmudgeon looking back with anger and acid. This is a book you should read.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By Reynell
Spurred by his increasingly apparent mortality and the recent suicide of his estranged daughter, Willy Muller makes his way gradually from a self-imposed and empty exile in America to an attempt to reconcile himself with what’s left of his family in Britain. Willy, who is both narrator and protagonist, is by his own admission a good bad writer when ghosting celebrity biographies. Happily for the reader Heller has him up his game when it comes to narrating the details of his own life. The prose is inventive and lively at the beginning of the book, adeptly painting a portrait of a self-centred man barely aware of those around him whose only observations of the world are cynical and material. By the end of the book the prose has shed much of its bravado and become calmer and more reflective, in keeping with Willy’s shifting sensibilities. The transition from one to the other is done with skill, the tone shifting gradually whilst retaining enough of the original Willy to make it believable. Despite the seriousness of the book’s focus, there are moments of high comedy and some delightful observations on the nature of sex and relationships, amongst other things. Indeed, the book is a good deal more complex than can even be hinted at in so short a review. I would recommend anyone to read it.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She Knows a Lot 12 April 2003
By Jonathan Posner VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For those like me who religiously read Zoe Heller's Saturday column in the Daily Telegraph, they may long since have come to the conclusion that she would make the perfect girlfriend: intelligent, funny, erudite and attractive with vaguely raunchy undercurrents. Her serious writing doesn't disappoint either and only adds to her considerable appeal. Too bad she's now firmly tucked away in New York: definitely our loss.
The story of EverythingYou Know carries some of the macabre fascination of a car crash and one which assaults the reader on two fronts: the (almost) hopeless doom of Willy Muller, its main protagonist, combined with the unbearable tragedy of his younger daughter's suicide and his irreparable estrangement from her elder sister. These themes are cleverly slanted so that on the one hand the suicide has already taken place before the book begins, and on the other his first daughter comes across as a truly hideous individual. I was only trying to scrape up some sympathy for her because, thinking of myself as being a compassionate person, I knew I should – dysfunctional childhoods, and all that.
Heller's grasp of all her characters is as sure-footed as a deceptively delicate mountain goat and if at times you want her to maybe just turn the volume down a little bit, she clearly relishes her cast with a tangible mirth. But it's her acute observation of everyday detail that wins the day, and I can only recall Paul Theroux doing it as well as she does (see Hotel Honolulu, for example); whether it's the way certain women walk or speak, or the exact manner in which another takes her knickers off, Heller's power of description is superlative and often unforgettable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A voice that really works 3 Aug 2007
By Lou Ice
Another one of these books with a plot so simple that you wish you'd wrote it yourself. But that's the beauty of it ... To write simple is what's most difficult.

Heller's novel consists of two parallel stories. The first person you get to follow is Willy - a middle-aged man who has escaped to the States after being accused of murdering his wife in the U.K. He's just had a heart-attack and this makes him reflect more on his somewhat tragic life. The second person you get to follow is Sadie - Willy's daughter who has just committed suicide. You get her story through some left over diaries that she has sent to her dad. Every chapter begins with a new journal entry and is followed by disaster upon disaster in Willy's life. But the closer Sadie gets to her suicide, the closer Willy gets to some kind of change and development.

The subject sound very depressing, but Heller has created a voice that really works. Willy is a very round character who doesn't apologize for himself. She is also a master when it comes to imitate accents; everything from English working class in London to rich German holiday makers. The only reason I'm not giving the book five stars is that in a few situations things are getting a bit too comical to be believable.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
As a reader of Heller's columns for years I was quite surprised to find this wasn't another book in the "I'm a single twentysomething girl in the big city" genre. Rather, it's a thoughtful study of a man at mid life, struggling to come to terms with the death of one grown daughter and theestrangement of another. Heller writes beautifully, putting one in mind of Updike or Phillip Roth. And did I mention it's funny, funny, funny? Full marks for this one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amongst my favourite authors..
I just love Zoe Heller ...and I can't waIt for her to write something else.

She can handle a tiny detail - but has an interest in the world. Read more
Published 4 months ago by mrs mousemat
5.0 out of 5 stars A road less travelled
Willy Muller's view on the life he's lived thus far is bleak and unrelenting. Disarmingly honest with everyone, including himself, he takes no prisoners and refuses to look on the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by A. Thomas
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
I read this after being very impressed by Notes on A Scandal and like her other disappointing work The Believers this just isn't worth the time of day. Read more
Published 10 months ago by C Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Not my style
Didn't enjoy this book like I thought I would when I read the first few pages. Not my type of writing at all.

Good service and nice clean book.
Published 13 months ago by molly
5.0 out of 5 stars ... Is But a Fraction of Ms. Heller's Knowledge
Ms. Heller's colloquial novel examines the human condition more closely than half the clunking, breeze-block volumes that I've read. Read more
Published 18 months ago by English Teacher
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you know
This is one of those unputdownable books. The story of a scriptwriter, English living in America, just recovering from a heart attack. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Ann Lake
2.0 out of 5 stars Joyless
Well, what an unpredictable writer Zoe Heller is! I used to simply adore her newspaper columns; I loved Notes on a Scandal, and was disappointed in The Believers, an utterly... Read more
Published on 19 Mar 2010 by hiljean
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed Zoe Heller fan
I keep virtually every book I read and find it very difficult to give books away - I just love having them! Read more
Published on 17 Nov 2009 by Ann Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars So funny, so grisly
Zoe Heller is such a clever writer. Her characters, even as they are making you squirm, remind you of fiction's great power: it can show what's going on inside. Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2009 by Anastasia Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This is a woeful piece of writing well below the standard I would expect from Zoe Heller. Every single character - without exception - is so utterly unsympathetic that it is... Read more
Published on 20 Nov 2007 by Buzy Bea
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