The Girl Booker

The Girl Booker

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Literary Witchcraft

I have blogged before about how I like to read books that are well written yet easy to read, and how sparsely they seems to come along. Generally, when they do arrive, it is in the form of something that has beautifully crafted sentences you almost don’t notice, because they have been conveniently packaged into an easily digestible, conventional genre format of sort or other. 

Nobody is Ever Missing (Catherine Lacey) was astoundingly well written, and super easy to read but it was unique. It is made up of a number of things that should not work at all, so I am left a little puzzled trying to figure out how Lacey has managed to pull it off. In form and style it is highbrow, literary fiction, some of the sentences last for three quarters of a page, it’s written in first person (which can be the death knell for readability, especially for a debut novel), and it’s about madness, sadness, suicide and grief.  Despite all of this I found it fresh, breezy, engaging and easy to read, even on the train and during lunch breaks, when heavy fiction is usually a no-go zone.

It’s impossible to explain this conjurer’s trick, but how fantastic that I was lucky enough to read it.  I became obsessed with finding the little gem-like turns of phrase that peppered the book like Easter eggs scattered about in a garden. I felt compelled to keep reading and follow the journey of the protagonist. I never decided whether or not I liked her but I felt enormous sympathy for her, and I was fascinated by her. I was captivated. I have found myself a new favourite author.