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This Isn't The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You Paperback – 14 Feb 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (14 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408830388
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408830383
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jon McGregor is the author of the critically acclaimed If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and So Many Ways to Begin. He is the winner of the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award, and has been twice longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He was born in Bermuda in 1976. He grew up in Norfolk and now lives in Nottingham. Even the Dogs is his third novel.

(Photo credit: Neil Bennet)

Product Description

Review

McGregor is the nearest thing you will ever come across to a literary Beethoven. Words go beyond being tools of his trade and become an orchestrated, inspired and precisely designed tone poem for each creative idea ... One of the most perfect pieces of written English I have ever come across (Sunday Express)

Set in and around the fens, these wickedly brilliant stories are as black as the local soil ... Throughout, omissions and ellipses set the mind racing like a treacherous tide, rushing in to fill the gaps. Not a book for bedtime, then. But very, very good indeed (Daily Mail)

To the anxious literary festival audience member - and anyone else feeling downcast about the state of the short story today - I say, read Jon McGregor's new book. Its verve, its inventiveness, its sheer quiet audacity will reassure you that the short story is alive, well and reaching new heights (Maggie O'Farrell Guardian)

Sharp, dark and hugely entertaining, this collection establishes McGregor as one of the most exciting voices in short fiction (Alex Preston Observer)

Haunting and brilliant (Independent)

Jon McGregor writes with frightening intelligence and impeccable technique. Every page is a revelation (Teju Cole)

A writer alive to the lithe life of language ... A huge talent (Sunday Times)

A striking collection ... the prose is picked clean, pellucid (Sunday Telegraph)

McGregor's prose is as sparse as the countryside it has alighted on, with barely a simile or metaphor in sight (Literary Review)

There is a lot to chew over and a lot that stays in the mind (Psychologies)

Book Description

Tender, sad, funny, and riveting, this is an astonishing collection of work by one of Britain's finest contemporary writers

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Mar 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have really mixed feelings about this book. McGregor writes well, and indeed this short story collection showcases his wide range of writing skills which are used to convey the characters and situations very cleverly. But therein lies my main problem with the book too - too often it seems that the stories are being used to show off that talent and range of styles rather to to create an enjoyable experience for the reader. It is more art than entertainment at times.

Most of the stories are short, indeed, one is less than half a page and one is only one line. Whilst they are all well crafted - even the one liner - they are often too short for the reader to become engaged with the characters, and this is reinforced by the amost unremittingly bleak situations which make up the stories. The characters seem resigned to their fate, and there is little hope of better times to be found in this collection.

Well written, but for me at least, not very enjoyable.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By dikwal on 11 Mar 2012
Format: Hardcover
Between the covers of this book of short stories you will encounter everything from the sublime to the totally ridiculous."In Winter in the Sky" is a good example of both.It is a beautifully written and well constructed story of the developing relationship between a male and female.The former carries a very heavy secret from the night of their first date.McGregor devotes every second page to the rather crude drafts of the main lady,an aspiring writer.This is where you begin to realize that the author sometimes prioritizes art and the desire to be different over reader interest.
"Supplementary Notes to the Testimony of Appellants A & B" reads like a tedious report written in a police station. It is very much out of sync with the subtle creativity of most of the collection. "The Remains" ends with the words,"Have Yet to Be Found" repeated over and over for almost two pages. The final story, "Memorial Stone" comprises four pages of placenames! Perhaps I'm missing something very deep. Somebody please enlighten me if I am.
That's the rant off my chest.Any lover of creative,mood-setting,different(!) writing will revel in this book. the author has a wonderful ability the create a sense of place as well as a sense of a person.You will be smitten with all the emotions. "We Wave and Call" will stay with you for a long time for its ingenious build up to a devastating ending.
The book should have ended with "I'll Buy You a Shovel". Two travelling labourers in a caravan,with an upmarket wedding reception going on nearby will give you moments of great pathos and of great hilarity.
The sublime certainly outweighs the ridiculous.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By George Steven (Scotland) on 16 Mar 2012
Format: Hardcover
Having enjoyed Jon McGregor's novels in the past I had high expectations for his new short story collection. I was not disappointed. These are fantastically created tales of life with a strong connecting theme of place. I had previously read one of the stories from the collection, 'Wires' when it came runner up in the BBC National Short Story Competition last year but as a full collection the stories somehow become even more powerful. Thoroughly recommended !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Herman Norford on 24 Nov 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In his three novels, we have come to know Jon McGregor for his experimental approach to the novel. Here in this collection of short stories, This Isn't The Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You, that approach of experimenting is continued. McGregor is also know for his novels that deal with ordinary working class folk and here again in this collection of short stories McGregor's subject matter highlights the lives of ordinary folk.

The stories are varied in terms of length and subject matter. They range from a single sentence that constitutes a story to full length short stories. If there is an underlying unifying issue that connects the stories together it could be said to be place. The book is structured on the basis of areas in Lincolnshire. McGregor then gives us the names of towns and villages that form part of the geographical area. This leaves the reader with the impression that one of things McGregor is doing in the collection is to explore the impact of living in a particular place.

McGregor seems to take people from the places where his stories are set and then briefly explore an issue. So in the story Keeping Watch Over the Sheep, a man who is in dispute with his partner no longer has contact with his daughter and he does his best to see her in her first nativity school play. But of course that is not the sort of thing that happens to someone like me or you.

Whether or not the reader is comfortable with McGregor's experiments, this is what gives these stories their edge. In The Winter Sky, one gets the impression that McGregor is playing around with the composition of a short story. The pages that carry the narrative are juxtaposed with pages of what looks like notes for expanding the story.
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By Mrs H on 10 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I hadn't realised this was short stories and that's the only reason I have only given this book four stars. I was expecting another wonderful novel from this author. Beautifully written, quite scary in that it plays on what we al beive.. it wont happen to us, but of course awful things do happen to ordinary people. excellent read
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