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VINE VOICEon 4 June 2017
Something is about to happen. We are on a street in an unspecified party of Britain, and something is about to happen that will change things. We are introduced to the street's residents and look into their lives and how they interrelate. Snapshots and vignettes that build a mosaic of families and friends. Alongside this is a second narrative strand after the event, told in the first person, the story of a young woman who is pregnant. The two strands intertwine and resolve each other at the end.

It's a solid piece of writing, that is quite stylish and features some fine flourishes. The characters are well drawn too. The pain of being branded shy is well realised as are the intimacies of relationships and youth.

I will admit that I'm not sure what the title refers to. There are failures of communication in the book, of people not telling things, but party of the charm is that it is an observation of the mundane, but for that one event.
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on 13 December 2014
A stunning opening chapter is somehow completely different from the remainder of the book, which is equally amazing. We flip flop by chapter between two different stories of people whose lives are both connected and unconnected depending on how you see it. The flip flop nature means suspense and intensity builds through a chapter, and then there's a fresh change back to the other story that you'd forgotten about, and then vice-versa, etc. My enduring memory of this book, which I read years ago, is feeling so head-to-toe like I'm inside the book. The words seemed to have this kind of texture to them. I wasn't processing words in my head, I was living in the story, hearing the minute sounds from the licking of lips to subtle creaking of furniture; the rain against the window. If someone walked past the window I would feel the warmth of the sun on my back; if they wrapped their hands around a mug of tea, my hands felt warm. Everything was so real.

People didn't have names, but they had identity (I usually read fiction and just lose track of Andy Helen Dave and Petula - because I don't care about them!). The writing didn't have structure, but it was clear. Speech wasn't in quotes but I heard people's voices.

And that bit with the old couple in the road when it's raining - even now it brings a tear to my eye!

To me this book is elevated above all others and I love it to bits!

Obviously it's a taste thing, a friend of mine wasn't too keen - but most of them are!
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on 12 July 2017
Rather over-written and confusing. Disliked the style and disjointed narrative the most. Read if you want to be depressed. Only read it as it had been mentioned on the radio.
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on 27 April 2017
The most tiresome novel I have read in many years.
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on 13 April 2017
Incredible book. Loved it. Absolutely absorbing. Read it again immediately after finishing a bit slower taking it in a bit more.
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on 24 April 2017
contrived and reads like an a lev creative writing script
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on 8 June 2017
Wow, this is the third time I have read this book and it surprises and delights me every time. The action builds up, person by person, action by action. It's like reading a piece of modern dance, layer upon layer...
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on 14 August 2017
He write so beautifully and in such an understated way!
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on 28 November 2016
Didn't like this book at all. Couldn't get into it. Stopped reading after a few chapters.
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on 30 May 2017
remarkable!
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