25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A remarkable thing for a start..., 1 Mar. 2004
John McGregor's debut novel is a finely-observed and acutely moving story set in an unremarkable northern town. The book's tension is centred in "the incident" - an awful and heart-wrenching event which touches the minutely-observed lives of a dozen or so characters living close to the scene, a faily anonymous suburban street. And we are kept in the dark about the precise nature of this incident until the very end.
McGregor's mastery of time-shift enables him to start with a brief introduction to the end-piece, and then shift backwards, moving forward in small steps to show us how each of the characters came to be involved.
But the technical aspects do not do justice to what is a very moving book. I found myself thinking about the characters and their likely future lives for weeks after I had finished reading. McGregor's insight into character, relationships and family dynamics make this a wonderful, life-affirming and gripping novel.
I am not one to sit for hours ensconced in the pages of books, but this poetic and finely-crafted story did it for me.
I will be pre-ordering his 2nd novel!