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Winner of the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award, winner of the 2016 Goldsmith Prize, and the 2017 Booker nominee, Solar Bones is a stunning and beautifully written novel.Set in a small Irish town, Marcus Conway sits at his kitchen table on All Souls Day and reminisces about his life Thru a stream of consciousness, he reflects on every day life ranging from his work as a civil engineer to politics and the economics of earlier and present times He is a ordinary and moral man with a loving wife and two children that he remembers well Marcus thoughts go back and forth from his wife s current illness due to a county epidemic to their earlier years together He reflects emotionally on what his children were like when they were young to where they are now as adults.All of this is done in one long sentence with exceptional prose that flows so beautifully it is mesmerizing to the reader As I listened to the audiobook, I had no concerns as some did with reading one sentence The novel s structure was poetic to one listening Tim Reynolds narration was so lovely.I will be reading of Mike McCormack s work.A heart felt 5 out of 5 stars I had already bought a copy of this book before the Booker longlist was announced, because it won the Goldsmiths Prize and was well received by reviewers whose opinions I trust The whole book is a single sentence monologue, which tells quite a conventional story of a mid life crisis but is rather interesting than that would suggest, since the topics it covers are wide ranging and universal The narrator is a middle aged engineer, who works for a local council in Mayo I was aware that there was some discussion last year about an apparent spoiler on the cover of the Irish original, which does not appear on the UK Canongate edition, view spoiler which reveals that the entire story is told by a dead man who is recalling the last few weeks of his life, hide spoiler After you get used to the writing style of this novel it s technically all one sentence, no full stops it s quite a beautiful read It s told from the perspective of one man on a single afternoon as he reflects on his life, his marriage children, his work, politics, and a lot of other big topics But it s a very human novel I admired it s ability to take philosophical views and ground them in one person s experience it became very relatable and moving I think this novel deserves a re read because the first twenty pages I was so focused on adjusting to how it s written that I don t think I gleaned everything that I was supposed to from the text, but fortunately it s not a long read and one that you can get lost in So maybe someday I will return to it again Definitely high on the list of favorites for this year s Man Booker Prize INGEGNERIA ESISTENZIALEWestport, nella contea di Mayo, dove ambientato il romanzo era un giorno per le grandi domandela vita, l universo , cazzi e mazziDuecentoquarantedue pagine senza un punto fermo, neppure alla fine, neppure all ultima, due punti, virgole, e un sapiente uso dell accapo, regalano gioia e rivoluzione, regalano quello che si usa chiamare flusso di coscienza, un unico discorso ininterrotto, una lunga singola frase, un onda sonora, un ruminare, avanzare e ritornare della memoria che tocca i punti cardinali della vita di un uomo, il pensiero e il rimescolio del protagonista, cinquantenne seduto nella cucina di casa di un due novembre, e cio il giorno in cui si commemorano i morti, che sanno commemorarsi anche da solo come qui si apprende, racconto che s avvia intorno al mezzod , con quattro ora davanti da riempire prima che faccia ritorno da scuola sua moglie, i figli grandi occupati e affaccendati, lei Agnes artista visuale, lui Darragh raccoglitore di frutta in Australia, ormai abitano un qualche loro altrove, il pensiero di Marcus Conway corre qua e l , da quando aveva nove anni e suo padre era un dio a smontare motori, il suo dio personale, prima di restare vedovo e perdere il senno, alla crisi economica del suo paese, e anche la fatica di scegliere il punto giusto della pagina dove fermarsi, spezzare e interrompere la lettura per poi poterla riprendere senza intoppo, ma siccome McCormack si giostra bene nella sua punteggiatura, e anche nella sua assenza, assenza del punto fermo intendo, leggere questo romanzo proprio quello che ho gi detto prima, gioia e rivoluzione, gioia per esprimere il mio piacere e lo stupore e la mia meraviglia, rivoluzione perch per quanto non sia certo la prima volta, leggere un libro scritto cos una botta di vita, spalanca davanti baratri e montagne da esplorare, esplorazione protetta dal talento di chi scrive, e io potrei andare avanti cos ma che senso avrebbe, me lo chiedo, e abbandono per tornare ai punti fermi che a me piacciono almeno altrettanto di quanto mi piace farne a meno.Nel 1989 crollato il muro di Berlino Quello di Belfast ancora in piedi la mente a riposo si srotola all infinito, cede a queste ridicole meditazioni che troppo facilmente scambiamo per pensieri, queste associazioni sciolte, echi mentali in cui risuona la nostra ansia di stare svegli e vigili sul mondo o perlomeno attenti a quante pi delle sue circostanze sappiamo cogliereS , certo, McCormack irlandese d adozione e il suo stream of consciousness fa subito pensare al suo celebre conterraneo Joyce, che per i punti li usava, e qui non serve proprio corredo di note e spiegazioni Alasdair Gray Cowcaddens Streetscape in the Fifties, 1964.Mi difficile dire se il monologo di Marcus prenda spunto da fatti privati o pubblici, tanto tutto parte uno dell altro i fatti pubblici, essendo lui un ingegnere che lavora nell ufficio della contea di Mayo, a nordovest dell Irlanda, spalmata sulla costa atlantica di Galway, che dove io mi fermai , sono tanti, dalle tre colate di calcestruzzo che saranno le fondamenta della nuova scuola, ma che essendo composte da tre calcestruzzi diversi saranno fondamenta poco stabili, alle telefonate dei politici che interferiscono in materia tecnica come l ingegneria per mantenere il proprio elettorato, costituiscono un rovello nel fluire del discorso di Marcus.William Blake The House of Death 1795 1805 Tate Gallery, Londra.E sono intrecciati e intervallati con fatti e ricordi intimi, il cui fondamento si potrebbe definire la magnifica storia d a con la moglie Mairead durata un quarto di secolo che ha generato prima lei, la figlia Agnes, che dipinge usando il proprio sangue, poi lui, il figlio Darragh, che sta viaggiano il mondo e si ferma a lungo in Australia a lavorare come bracciante e quasi ogni sera parla con casa via skype Sunset Boulevard di Billy Wilder, 1950 William Holden galleggia morto sull acqua della piscina e inizia a raccontare con voce fuori campo v.o Sembra dominare l ansia dell ingegnere che sa che sbagliando calcoli si rischia il crollo In fondo il mondo uno sgangherato prodotto di componenti casuali avvitati insieme alla cieca, una costruzione che ronza vicino al crollo, al punto che per scardinare cielo e terra sarebbe bastato sfilare un solo ma essenziale perno.Ma il rischio di collasso mitigato dalla bellezza la bellezza dell a, per esempio, ma anche della natura che in quella parte d Europa raggiunge vette elevate Il mondo e la vita sanno trovare la loro armonia coniugando ordine e disordine, pragmatismo ed estetica, prosa e poesia, conscio e inconscio, io noi e loro.Cimitero irlandese Nel procedere di questa narrazione inarrestabile, a tratti lirica, apocalittica, mistica e prosaica l ultima parola vaffanculo Marcus McCormack racconta una vita per nulla speciale e allo stesso tempo la straordinariet dell umano, quella facolt che ci rende speciali e ci permette di andare oltre la dimensione fisica della nostra esistenza PS Mi unisco al coro generale di lode e applauso alla traduzione di Luca Fornari.PPSSE vorrei innalzare un mio personale peana a McCormack per quanto si tenga lontano dalla narrativa irlandese che io conosco, cos perennemente ripiegata su se stessa, martellante sullo stesso punto e tono.L Angelus di Jean Fran ois Millet 1858 59 Museo d Orsay, Parigi L angelus una preghiera cattolica che viene recitata all alba, a mezzogiorno e al tramonto Quando inizia il flusso di pensieri, e racconto, di Marcus Conway stanno suonando le campane della seconda preghiera, quella del mezzod. 3 much to admire but only kinda liked stars First of all a big thanks to Lee M who recommended this book to me I know he carefully considers which books to recommend to me and I am glad he did this one remember three stars is a good book to me This book has won and been nominated for a number of awards and I can understand why The book is written in an open stream of consciousness way with no periods but lots of commas It carefully delves into the inner life of a middle class middle aged Irish bloke who happens to be decent, caring and psychologically insightful about his history, his life, his family, his work and his developed intellectual and spiritual life These are all interesting and wonderful things Yet, I cannot say, that I always looked forward to reading it I can not quite put my finger on why this is I think I craved inner conflict or perhaps a bit quirkiness of character.A book well worth reading to understand some unconventional prose for a fairly conventional character Wonderfully and intricately structured in a way that demanded my full attention this is a portrait of a man s life told in a single contemplative hour Mike McCormack tells his story in a single sentence without proper punctuations and in places bending the rules of grammar to the limit and it works absolutely beautifully This lends the prose an immediacy and a poignancy that mesmerized me This quiet novel tells of a quiet man an engineer thinking about his life and the things important to him his wife and two children but also meditating on other things, politics, finance, art, the importance of ritual, and many things The flow is disjointed, jumping between times and topics and the result is a portrait of a man that feels complete but at the same time as if there could be so much to him then even meets his inner eye.I went into this book only knowing of its structure and nothing about its plot and I am glad I did I loved discovering and of the man Marcus Conway is and how he became that way This quiet but impactful little novel took me completely by surprise with how unpretentious it felt while reading and how much I enjoyed reading it let s be honest here it could have been a pretentious mess in hands less talented I am so very glad the book is longlisted for the Man Booker Prize because I don t know if I had read it otherwise.Normally I would now give you the first sentence But given that the first sentence is also the only sentence I will end this review with one of my favourite passages that just glows with the love Marcus has for his wife coming upon her unawares like that, my wife of twenty five years sitting in profile with her hair swept to her shoulder and her crooked way of holding her head whenever she was listening intently or concentrating, I saw thata whole person and their lifecohered clearly around these few details and how, if ever his woman had to be remade, the world could start with the light and line of this pose which was so characteristic of her whole being, drawing down out of the ether her configuration, her structure and alignment, all the lines and contours which make her up as the women she was on that day |Free Book ♶ Solar Bones ♫ Marcus Conway Has Come A Long Way To Stand In The Kitchen Of His Home And Remember The Rhythms And Routines Of His Life Considering With His Engineer S Mind How Things Are Constructed Bridges, Banking Systems, Marriages And How They May Come ApartMike McCormack Captures With Tenderness And Feeling, In Continuous, Flowing Prose, A Whole Life, Suspended In A Single Hour July 2017What a difference a year makes Since this was picked up by a UK based publishing company it became eligible for the Man Booker Prize and subsequently has made the long list for 2017 THIS IS A FANTASTIC BOOK It is a book that stays with you and haunts your soul I m firmly rooting for it to win 24th November, 2016Do you ever feel like a complete idiot and just want to rewrite an entire review That s how I m feeling about this particular review I got things so wrong I was too caught up in the whole nonsense surrounding the blurb that I let it tarnish my reading experience and subsequently my review But hindsight, HINDSIGHT I LOVE YOU So readers, read the blurb on this and immediately after that read the interview with the author that I linked in the original review but then, and here s the reeeeeally important bit disregard every negative thing I then said because this is a great book that is so worth your time And if you do choose to read the book could you come and talk to me about it after you ve read it because I reeeeeeeeally want to talk about it original reviewdrawn down into that fissure in creation where everything is consumed in the raging tides and swells, the physical world gone down in flamesmountains, rivers and lakes and pulling with it all those human rhythms that bind us together and draw the world into a community, those daily rites, rhythms and ritualsupholding the world like solar bones, that rarefied amalgam of time and light whose extension through every minute of the day is visible from the moment I get up in the morning and stand at the kitchen window with a mug of tea in my hand, watching the first cars of the day passing on the roaddisclaimerThis book has a very revealing blurb that the author himself has deemed to be acceptable and contains information about the plot that he, in fact, wishes the reader to know I will discuss this blurb not using spoiler tags in correspondence with the wishes of the author If however you would like to know nothing about the plot of this book then I suggest that you do not read my review as to some people this may feel like a giant spoiler that could have the potential to ruin their read of this novel Solar Bones first came to my attention because of media coverage drawing light on the reasons that deem it ineligible to be considered for this year s Man Booker Prize It is a book much beloved by literary critics and therefore cast a spotlight on the fact that to win the Man Booker Prize a book must be published by a publishing house based within the UK Solar Bones is published by a small independent Irish publisher who cannot afford to acquire a UK imprint So the question is put forth that is this rule unwittingly forcing authors to sign with larger publishing houses corporations and are perhaps truly groundbreaking and individual new talents being isolated as they are not so readily picked up by larger publishers You can read on the debate behind this in this article in the Guardian newspaper and draw your own considered conclusions Another reason that I decided I wanted to read this book is that it is one sentence Yup One big fat long sentence that lasts 223 pages Gimmick Or necessary to the story Bit of both really At first I loved this book I got completely lost in it Our main character narrator is a man called Marcus Conway and this book is purely his thoughts And do you know that way that your thoughts bounce from one thing to the next sometimes without stopping It s kind of like that And at first it was so appealing The narrative flowed beautifully The language was almost rhythmic in how it carried me as the reader along I didn t miss the full stop I didn t miss paragraph breaks or chapters It truly held my attention for the first third of the book But then I began to get somewhat tired of it The storyline felt a little repetitive and as a reader you could see that Marcus was unable to remember past one event in his life and you were waiting for it to dawn on him that he was dead.OH NO WAIT DID I JUST GIVE AWAY A SPOILER Nope Apparently I did not So that brings me to the topic of the blurb on the back of the book and the author s wishes The blurb at the back of the book tells us from the get go that Marcus Conway is dead But sometimes on All Soul s Day November 2nd , the dead return to us.Okay So you know me dear goodreaders I ABHOR spoilers But if it s the author s wishes for us as readers to know then that is his artistic rightHere s an excerpt from an article about the book interviewing Mike McCormack The whole article can be read here on writing.ie The fact that Marcus is dead, however, raises an interesting question Some reviews have avoided mentioning this as though it was a spoiler I wondered if it was always McCormack s intention that this would be revealed in the blurb given that it isn t revealed in the book until the last few pages Yes, he says I made a deliberate decision to flag that at the beginning so that it would not come as a cheap reveal at the end of the book I like the way that it privileges the reader throughout with a knowledge that Marcus does not have it gives the reader a hold on the situation that Marcus does not have So here s my issue with this privilege It makes for a somewhat weak ending I know that having a dead main character isn t a new thing Yes we ve all read other books, seen films etc with that twist in the tail which I will refrain from mentioning here But when this particular plot twist is well executed it really makes for an involving read Even if as the reader you begin to pick up on certain signs within the book you feel invested in the storyline, in the outcome You want to know if your suspicions are correct The problem with knowing in this book is that it makes for a passive read Yes the language is beautiful And his stream of post conscious thought gives a great insight into the character s soulbut I got bored too quickly It all became a sort of oneness with thoughts that melded too much into one another This isn t a long book by any stretch of the imagination but I felt that maybe it could have been a interesting read if it were made even shorter Perhaps of a novella I don t regret reading it as its style and content do make for interesting discussion but Booker prize worthy I m not sure But then again, when do I ever agree with the critics It has, it must be noted, just been awarded The Goldsmiths Prize, an award that recognises fiction that pushes the boundaries, and despite my average rating I somewhat tend to agree This book did certainly try to spin what is normal on its head While I didn t feel it completely pulled off what it was trying to achieve, the style of writing must be commended and it was worth the read Therefore, I think it is a worthy acknowledgment of a small independent publishing company that were willing to take a chance on what is differentDiversity, the art of thinking independently together Malcolm ForbeseditI wrote this initial review over three weeks ago and forgot to post it I knowflakey But upon reflection today I have a lot less issue with the author s decision to reveal Marcus death on the back of the book I think the important thing about this novel is the writing This book one long sentence This book beautiful prose This book reads so differently to anything else that I have read this year and even though my attention dragged a little, the whole premise did keep me interested The stream of post conscious thought from the the main character was quite emotional I didn t focus on that in my original review because I let my hot headed annoyance get the better of me But when I think about the book now, for the reader to know the outcome of the story before the narrator added deeper emotion Maybe that s why I as the reader saw the signs as to the truth and Marcus did not Because knowing his end heightened my senses This book was never meant to be written as a thriller or such where one expects the paranormal is at work and one is waiting on twists and turns around every page It was just a story about an ordinary man who had to come to terms with the most ordinary of events that we all some day will experience Hindsight is a beautiful thing Before reading this book I should have taken a moment to pause To take a breath To appreciate the artistic decision made and to embrace it So even though I was so disappointed when I brought this book home from my library and read the blurb before embarking on my read, I now no longer am Somehow what I perceived to be cheap or cowardice has turned to bravery in my mind The light of your mind when reading this book should be firmly placed on the writing Forget everything else It s not important Just let yourself fall into the gentle flow of the author s wordsfour stars Exceptional, stellar writing in this little gem, but the structure makes it a bit of a chore to read Marcus Conway reflects on his life in the kitchen of his house in Mayo, Ireland on All Soul s Day His reflections are represented in a stream of consciousness, which is basically one long, lovely, and remarkable sentence Just as we do in our own reminiscing, one thing leads to another and Marcus memories progress in leaps and bounds across time and space, covering his entire life and all of his relationships This is a book you need to settle into and find the rhythm and let it carry you along It s a tough read if you are inclined as I was to put it down and pick it up later.I can t emphasize enough the beauty and power of McCormack s writing It s almost poetry Lovely, poignant, insightful and very real I loved it but the format was challenging for me Definitely worthy of being a Booker longlist choice in 2017.