Show Me The Sky Paperback – 5 Jun 2008
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'An ambitious and accomplished work and a harbinger of further riches to come.' -- The Compulsive Reader
'An assured and gripping debut' -- Ian MacMillan, BBC Radio 3
'Like a four-part harmony, Hogg balances these voices, strengthening the book's message of staying true to one's roots.' -- Sunday Herald
'Show Me the Sky is an absorbing exploration of identity, escaping the past - and the urge to return home.' -- Product Magazine
'[A] subtle and clever novel...each voice is different and distinct.' -- Big Issue
'Like a four-part harmony, Hogg balances these voices, strengthening the book's message of staying true to one's roots.'See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Nicholas Hogg himself -- as I learned at a recent reading -- is energetic and provocative, his work seamless. This is a writer to watch.
The novel has five strands of narrative: a British policeman who has gone awol in Australia to try to trace a missing rock star; a motorcyclist dying in a dry creek in the Australian outback; an 1830s diary of a native Fijian who is returning to the Antipodes with missionaries having been converted and educated in England; a teenage runaway in England; and an unhappy rockstar.
A ever in such novels, the strands come together at the end and a coherent story appears. The danger is that this looks contrived - although if it is viewed in reverse it is a single story that has been separated into five strands. In this case, though, the novel manages to steer the course quite well. Most of the voices seem quite different - perhaps the policeman and the motorcyclist aren't obviously different, but any confusion is dispelled by Part 2. The rock star narrative seems the weakest, although it offers quite an interesting perspective - the reluctant star who sees the music as a job and would rather pursue his interests of social history and personal development. However, in the interests of creating a distinct voice, Billy K seems rather staccato and needlessly gobby for a man who is supposed to be sensitive. The rock industry world he inhabits is similarly stereotypical with its deferential journalists, inarticulate artistes, sinister executives and inane groupies.
The strength, though, is in the narratives of the motorcyclist and the historical diary. Both offer a wonderful, three dimensional portrayal of the two situations. In the case of Cal, the motorcyclist, the hopelessness of the situation is obvious, but the tone is never maudlin. The position doesn't develop much, it just deteriorates - yet it never becomes boring.Read more ›
He is able to switch between very different voices with consummate ease. I found the sections of diary particularly extraordinary, in that respect. Reading these sections, I was 'away with the fairies' and totally forgot this was a work of fiction.
Thematically, its wonderful stuff; returning to one's roots in so many different senses. The whole thing resonates and echoes thematically, and that is wonderful, so many novels just don't do that.
Marrying the historical accounts, with a modern missing person mystery, with a commentary on the corruption then and now, religious corruption and bigotry mirroring the exploitation of 'god given gifts' in Billy K... fantastico....
I was reminded of Cloud Atlas... but actually, thought this was a better read.
In some ways, I thought it a pity that the whole book could not be the 'Show Me The Sky' journal narrative (but if it had been, what lunatic would have published and what fool would have picked it up, although anyone reading it would have adored it).
The conflict within the Fijian narrator (which only comprises a fifth of the book) is the anchor for the other stories. It is written with language that feels authentic (Google unsurprisingly shows that Nicholas Hogg was/is a poet in another life). The narrator is so unreliable (due to his naivite) that we almost start to patronise him as readers. This is a wonderful device, which compelled me to read on and made me feel very uncomfortable.
There are four other strands in the book and it seems an extraordinary feat to have woven them all together, with a twist at the end that left me amazed and moved. In some ways, it reminded me of the end of Kore Eda's 1995 film 'Maborosi', where, in the last few moments, another life is revealed, one that we have all lived and experienced, but which is seldom admitted to.
Watch Maborsi, read this book. Possibly in the reverse order.
A fantastic debut and I will be looking out for more of his work in the years to come.
Well done Nicholas Hogg
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A powerfully written mystery of a disappearance of a rock singer. The man sent to find him also vanishes from the radar to trace him. Read morePublished on 3 Jun. 2013 by Half Man, Half Book
Having just finished "Show me the Sky" I can recommend it as a great read. As a person who has lived in a fair few countries, I was thoroughly impressed by the way the author... Read morePublished on 20 Jan. 2011 by Tim Cowman
This book got off to a very promising start, but I'm afraid I found that it went downhill after that. Read morePublished on 3 Aug. 2010 by Nicola in South Yorkshire
Well, I am flabbergasted at the rave reviews here. Maybe I'm missing something. For me, it was nothing more than a not particularly memorable Reggie Perrin type of yarn. Read morePublished on 17 Jan. 2010 by pigsmayfly
Nicholas Hogg relates a clever, fast-paced plot, with simple, elegant and poetic prose. The different and distinct voices of his characters gradually pull together, each with... Read morePublished on 10 July 2008 by The Keeper of Ducks
If you have ever thought about escaping your own life and dream of journeys far and wide, this book is a must read for you. Read morePublished on 9 July 2008 by Neko