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Everything You Know Paperback – 28 Jul 2005
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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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.
Top customer reviews
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.
But maybe none of this would be over-remarkable in itself were it not for this wonderful writer's underlying compassion and clear sensitivity. One always feels that however ghastly her characters' behaviour, the ghastliness is informed and mitigated by a very human, and often very raw, vulnerability. It seems that Zoe Heller knows deep inside about these things. Her next book is due shortly. We'll know more about her then, and I for one can't wait for that. Meanwhile I'm already scheming about how she's going to become my girlfriend in another life . . .
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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Most recent customer reviews
She can handle a tiny detail - but has an interest in the world.Read more
Good service and nice clean book.