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My Dearest Jonah by [Crow, Matthew]
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My Dearest Jonah Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Review

Longlisted for the 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize --Legend Press

'There is an assured precision to Crow s observations that cannot be learned. Novelists who have been honing their craft for decades might justifiably begin to dislike him: sometimes writers are just born. Begin enjoying Matthew Crow now and then, when he's discovered, you'll be able to smugly let slip that you liked his early work...' --Jonathan Trigell

I was blown away by Crow's debut novel, which manages the rare feat of being authentic and poetic, lyrical and believable. Ashes is a raw, rip-roaring depiction of life. --Author, Mark Piggott

I was blown away by Crow's debut novel, which manages the rare feat of being authentic and poetic, lyrical and believable. Ashes is a raw, rip-roaring depiction of life. --Author, Mark Piggott

About the Author

Matthew was born in North Shields in 1987. At the age of 16 he moved in with family in Darlington to complete his A-levels at a better Sixth Form College. During his teens Matthew freelanced for several online magazines writing pop reviews, which led him to move to London to work freelance.

Matthew quickly secured a literary agent and is one of the most exciting writers of his generation. His debut novel, Ashes, was published by Legend Press in 2010. Matthew currently lives in Darlington.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 635 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (1 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Q1RYUU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #598,728 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Dearest Jonah is the second novel of young Geordie author Matthew Crow. I bought this novel because of its endorsement from Jonathan Trigell on the cover, an author whose work I've come to admire over the last six months.

My Dearest Jonah is the story of penpals Verity and Jonah who were introduced via a scheme. At the beginning of the novel Verity is in trouble and the bulk of her letters recount for Jonah how she ended up in her current position. Jonah's letters are present tense illustrating his attempts at a new life in a small town, trying to leave the unpleasantness of his past behind him.

The strength of My Dearest Jonah is the richness and quality of the prose, it is very clear that Crow is gifted with words and has a better way with them than some far more experienced and prolific writers out there.

But bizarrely his writing credentials are what causes the novels greatest flaw: the voice of his characters. Verity is a waitress and stripper without much of an education, who has taken to writing to ex convict Jonah who, imprisoned at a young age doesn't have much of an education either. Yet, in Verity's letters she comes out with such things as :

"The ancients said love was a completely mystical force, completely separate from matters as lowly as those of the flesh. Perhaps that's us Jonah. We transcend the carnal."

"unperturbed by the triptych of languages"

Her letters simply are not believable as the letters of an uneducated small town stripper. The same goes for Jonah's. Though Crow's own authorial voice is a very erudite one, it is not realistic as the voice of his characters.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Despite the gushing publisher's blurb, this is a book written by a young novelist who has been badly served by his editors. It probably is possible to write a modern epistolary novel but the framing device does nothing for this story: we're supposed to believe that two young characters who live on the criminal margins of society, and who have never met, write each other long letters (9-10 pages is not unusual) complete with all the narrative devices of a novel - description, verbatim conversations, and analysis.

Even if we could push that aside, there are the voices: Verity has been working as a waitress and gets involved with a criminal underworld; Jonah has been in prison - neither, we assume, is particularly well-educated... and yet they write prose filled with absurdly inappropriate vocabulary, both for their social status and for the medium of letter-writing.

Hence from Jonah's first letter: "That is not to say I entirely condone the recent tangent you seemed to have happened upon... and for what it's worth your burgeoning affiliation has my acceptance if not my approval". And our waitress replies in her first letter, after finding herself locked in a car boot with a severed human hand (I know...): "This in itself was apt to induce shock... my sudden ejection from the car had caused it [the hand] to bounce upwards and hang grotesquely across the bottom lip of the trunk like the final strand of linguine of a giant's feast."

If you can handle this kind of prose, go ahead...
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By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
They say everyone has a novel inside them. Well, perhaps not, but plenty of people are convinced they have one inside them even when they don't.

That's a bit how My Dearest Jonah feels. The basic pretext - two deadbeats who get to know each other through a penpal scheme - is implausible. Then these two characters, whose lives don't intersect, write to one another about the minutiae of their lives. Being deadbeats, this involves prostitution, prison, setting stuff on fire, kidnap and the like. It should be exciting, but because the whole thing is narrated in letters it feels stilted and artificial. The fact that the two voices are indistinguishable and overwritten makes it all the harder. It aims for John Banville but sounds like a piece in a university literary journal - but extended over 200 pages. It just screams: look at me and how clever I am, but the failure to give credible voices to the characters, unlike Banville's work, is not mitigated by the quality of the prose. This is dense, boring and never feels like anything more than words on a page.

I did get an uncorrected proof copy of this book and it is possible that it underwent some editing or proof reading between proof and final version, I don't know. But it would have taken some pretty hefty editing to rid the book of the amateurish typos and misspellings - illicit for elicit; suite for suit sort of thing. And the frequency of such errors just gave the whole thing an amateur, self-published feel. I accept, before people complain, that Legend Press is not a vanity publisher but they really need to concentrate on making their product look and feel less like vanity output.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jonah has been in prison and served a lengthy sentence for some nasty stuff and whilst doing time he was put on a pen pal list. He replied to a lady named Verity and they have struck up a correspondence relationship, which over time has become to mean a lot to each of them. I too have a friend like that and I find it very rewarding.

We join them at a time when there is a lot of trouble either about to happen or having just happened and has a possibility of getting worse. Verity has got caught up with the wrong doings of her best and seemingly only friend Eve. To say things are going to be bad is a massive understatement. Jonah meanwhile thinks things are on the up when an old acquaintance from his bad days comes a calling and it is not a courtesy visit.

The story unwinds in letters that the two write to each other telling the other what has happened and responding to the previous letter. Mathew Crow writes in a style that is economical yet expansive at the same time, he seems to cram so much into a sentence that, had he wanted, this book could have been much longer. As it is it is a powerful read, the sort that if you were to read at bedtime there would be no soporific benefits at all, and that has to be a good thing. I could have easily handled another 200 pages though it is that good.

The characters are really believable and he writes them with a care and understanding that shows great maturity in understanding how people work. I was hooked almost immediately and I do a lot of reading and a lot of my books end up being donated, but I always keep the best ones and this is going on my shelf for a good while yet, truly exceptional.
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