Ever Fallen In Love Paperback – 15 Jul 2011
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Strachan sustains strong undercurrents of menace and regret by cutting back and forth: we see Richard then and now, a reclusive designer of computer games holed up in the Highlands, unable to fully shake the stain of bad decisions while still in thrall to a prior, supposedly more exciting version of himself. The fug of student common rooms and bars is expertly conveyed, alongside the clean-washed emptiness of the coast. And although I ve never been interested in playing war games, Strachan makes their creation sound fascinating. --Chris Ross, The Guardian
Ever Fallen in Love doesn t disappoint. A quietly unsettling take on the coming-of-age genre, Strachan s novel avoids the more obvious shock-factor conclusion and instead continually teeters on the edge. Unafraid of the unspoken and the unresolved, the story gets under your skin and lingers there uncomfortably --Lucy Scholes, Sunday Times
'The novel excels at evoking the mind games, the vile but subtly plotted erosion which one driven friend can exert on another. The first-person segments power the narrative, dragging the reader into the layers of tangled dependence as Richard falls foul of Luke s excesses.' --Tom Adair in The Scotsman
About the Author
Zoe Strachan is the author of two previous successful novels, Negative Space and Spin Cycle. She was selected as one of the twenty best young novelists in Britain by the Independent. Negative Space won a Betty Trasker award and was short listed for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award. She has received two writer's bursaries from the Scottish Arts Council, a Hawthornden Fellowship and was UNESCO City of Literature writer-in-residence at the National Museum of Scotland. In 2008 she was awarded a Hermann Kesten Stipendium and in 2009 received a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship which took her to France to write. She lives in Glasgow where she teaches part time on the prestigious Creative Writing programme at the University of Glasgow.
Top customer reviews
Strachan never makes Richard's homosexuality a clichéd novelty, and therefore a heterosexual audience should not feel alienated. This is not a gay novel; this is a novel about unrequited love and the things it makes us do, with a protagonist who just happens to be gay. As a straight 19 year old female, I found this aspect of the book completely accessible, and it is a credit to Strachan's approach that she makes the reader so comfortable.
The characters are depicted as fragmented, conflicted and flawed, and therefore, human. Whether you like them or not, or agree with their decisions, it is impossible not to sympathise with their sheer honesty. Luke, the object of Richard's infatuation, is dark, seductive, and the type of person whose disreputableness is exactly what makes him so irresistible. An enigma even to himself, his thoughts and motivations are nuances which Richard and everyone else are constantly trying to penetrate and unravel. Even ten years down the line, Richard wonders what exactly happened back then. I think it's fair to say that dangerous, dissolute Luke is the impetus of the novel. He is the link between past and present, as well as the knife edge on which the plot balances. Paralleling the nature of an unrequited obsession, every thought and every action is a tributary that finds its twisted route back to Luke. He, or the concept of him, is the magnetic centre of the novel, sucking everything into him like a vacuum.
The rural, coastal and city settings evoke atmosphere and have as much to say as the characters. Strachan utilizes other quirky literary devices to further immerse her readers, such as the alternating chapters weaving through one another and building suspense--all those depicting Richard's time at university titled simply '0' and providing what Strachan called the 'bassline' of the novel and the dialogue within flowing seamlessly with thought and action in Richard's memory, in lieu of quotation marks. Additionally, around halfway through, the mystery surrounding Richard's diaspora and self-inflicted isolation is revealed off-hand, changing the question at the heart of the novel from 'What happened?' to 'How did that happen?'
Raw, subtle, compassionately written and endearingly frank, this novel about not fitting in and how the past shapes us really packs a punch. Highly recommended.
Although I felt it lacked, it kept me busy from beginning to end so on that basis it's worth anyone's time and opinion.