This book really surprised me. It's a bit of a brick of a thing, a huge novel with small print, but it is incredibly easy to read and I flew through it.
The novel tells the story of a boy called John Cromer, who succumbs to illness at an early age and is prescribed bed rest by his doctor, ordered to remain as still as possible as any physical effort whatsoever could prove fatal. However, it later transpires that John is actually suffering from a different condition - Still's Disease - where a lack of movement causes ankylosis, where the joints sieze up and calcify. As a result, John is crippled, with only a little movement in one arm and his head, and consigned to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
This all sounds unremittingly grim, not to mention dull (a motionless leading character, after all) but instead of focusing on his own predicament the narrator simply tells the story of his life, his friends, and his family. As the story progresses John goes to school - or a hospital school at least - and eventually enters adolescence where he starts to experience his first sexual feelings and homosexual encounters. The only negative point of the book is that it ends abruptly, but I understand that Adam Mars-Jones intends to write a trilogy, of which "Pilcrow" is the first part.
This is a superb book, written in a light and engaging style. The attention to detail throughout is remarkable, and surprisingly for a book as large as this I never once found myself wishing it would end. Simply put, it is one of the best books I've read in a long time.