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Show Me The Sky Paperback – 5 Jun 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Deluxe edition (5 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847671578
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847671578
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.6 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,965,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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

Review

'Like a four-part harmony, Hogg balances these voices, strengthening the book's message of staying true to one's roots.'

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Nicholas Hogg's first novel is part-thriller, part-detective, part-history and a good part poetry. What look at first like incredibly disparate stories in different countries are soon woven together in the most plausible, compelling way. The book cover (one of the niftiest I've seen, kudos to Canongate for the packaging brio) asks why a man would walk out on his life. Part of the charm of this book is the number of different, unexpected answers to that question that Hogg provides. The voices are convincing, the tension relentless, the book's narratives alternating with perfect timing.

Nicholas Hogg himself -- as I learned at a recent reading -- is energetic and provocative, his work seamless. This is a writer to watch.
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By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
Show Me The Sky is a mightily impressive debut.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Nicholas Hogg knows how to engage a reader on many levels. His characters are great, the settings are fascinating, vibrant. He makes full use of strong craft skills to draw you in and to create that elusive 'fictive dream' so sought after by writers. And for this reader, he created that dream fabulously well.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Although I would not normally read a book that sounds like it might be a detective novel about a missing rockstar, I am glad I did; this book managed to bind together vast themes of loss and belonging and of identity and desperation, set in different continents and centuries, while retaining a beautiful intimacy.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Nicholas Hogg has done what so many fail to do. That is to say he has delivered a debut Novel that hits the mark on many levels. The characters are thought provoking and interesting to get to know. The locations are obviously based on personnel experience and this just adds to the enjoyment of the novel. The way the many strands of the story weave in and out of each other is fantastic and the historical detail has obviously been well researched.

A fantastic debut and I will be looking out for more of his work in the years to come.

Well done Nicholas Hogg
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