This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You

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E-Book This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You These stories make up a true collection, one of place. Perhaps because much of it is set in the fens, at times I was reminded of Graham Swift's Waterland and that I want to reread that novel one day. Only two of the stories have recurring characters, but it's as if each story needs the other to achieve that unifying impression of place, and that alone was impressive. (The sum being much greater than its parts?)Some of the stories are brilliant, but none reached the high bar set by his novels. A few of the very short pieces worked for me; most didn't. A few of the stories have speculative elements. A few of the forms are inventive and with a couple of these I felt impatient, even a touch bored, but I was won over, partly, by their effective endings.The place-names under the title of each story and the Memorial Stone 'roll-call' at the end might've meant more to me if I knew more about these villages and parishes, and what must be their vanishing landscapes and ways of life.. This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You is a Ebook A man builds a tree house by a river, in anticipation of the coming flood A sugar beet crashes through a young woman s windscreen A boy sets fire to a barn A pair of itinerant labourers sit by a lake, talking about shovels and sex, while fighter planes fly low overhead and prepare for war.These aren t the sort of things you imagine happening to someone like you But somA man builds a tree house by a river, in anticipation of the coming flood A sugar beet crashes through a young woman s windscreen A boy sets fire to a barn A pair of itinerant labourers sit by a lake, talking about shovels and sex, while fighter planes fly low overhead and prepare for war.These aren t the sort of things you imagine happening to someone like you But sometimes they do.Set in the flat and threatened fenland landscape, where the sky is dominant and the sea lurks just beyond the horizon, these delicate, dangerous, and sometimes deeply funny stories tell of things buried and unearthed, of familiar places made strange, and of lives where much is hidden, much is at risk, and tender moments are hard won.Watch Jon McGregor reading from This Isn t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like YouJon McGregor discusses This Isn t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. Jon McGregor is a British author who has written three novels His first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things was nominated for the 2002 Booker Prize, and was the winner of both the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award in 2003 So Many Ways to Begin was published in 2006 and was on the Booker prize long list Even the Dogs was published in 2010 and his newest work, Reservoir 13 is due in April, 2017.. A viral Ebook This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You I really wanted to give this 5 stars, because a good half or more of the stories are just terrific. I also see McGregor as one of the great up and coming English fiction writers (as opposed to British – there’s no end of brilliant Scottish, Irish and Welsh writers). Him and Ross Raisin. You feel with McGregor he is always pushing at boundaries in order to express himself with more accuracy, with more empathy. So he bends the usual practises of fiction in order to make us feel. It puts some people off – I felt Even the Dogs was a truly fine attempt at getting under the drug addicts’ skin, literally as well as metaphorically, but others felt its use of the first person plural and the unfinished sentences too tricksy. I felt it worked, in the end. Here, as well as many excellent straightforward narratives, including two that were runners-up in the BBC national Short Story competitions 2010 and 2011, McGregor pushes and squashes and mucks about with language and form like a kid with paint. A lot works – eg the second story ‘In Winter the Sky’ about a man who (I don't think this is a spoiler as it happens fairly early on) accidentally kills someone through careless driving on a lonely road at night and decides to bury him. There are quite a few stories about this, two I’ve read recently in Crimes in Southern Indiana and Volt, are both very good, tense pieces, but this one also looks at the long term effects of the burden of knowledge as well as the 'dealing with the body' bit. The protagonist is married to an aspiring poet and along with the story on one side, on the facing page are her attempts at poems with crossings out etc. I feel this adds depth, colour, complexity to the piece, but it could have gone so wrong. McGregor takes chances. He also makes you reader work quite hard – e.g. ‘Supplementary Notes To the Testimony of Appellants B & E’ is as it says notes to a document the reader doesn’t see so they have to fill in the story. Another uses a similar technique using a ‘found document’ (about a group preparing for an environmental catastrophe) with comments on it from some kind of authority. Like this latter many seem to be set in the near future before or after some disaster, war or rebellion, eg there's a modern day Noah building a treehouse and raft being laughed at by the locals, in another there are aircaft constantly bombing a beach.There are some experimental very short pieces too like the following complete ones:SongGrimsbyChinese restaurants, laundrettes, baked potato vans.These are a few of my favourite extractor-fans.Fleeing ComplexityIrby in the MarshThe fire spread quicker than the little bastard was expectingI like the latter, the first baffles. Every story is accompanied by a place name and all are set in the flat fenlands of Eastern England and surrounding areas, and do make significant use of landscape. But do I really need a 'story' (the last in the book) which simply lists place names grouped together by type:I don't think so. I'm wondering if I did that, sent some place names to an editor as a story how s/he might react. Of course in the context of the book it does have more significance, but even so...Similarly I thought this, the last page of a story called 'The Remains' was taking the piss:So that's why in the end I went for four stars. However just writing about the book has made me want to keep it and re-read (it's a library copy due back today) and the stories that are good are so good they may force me back to make this five stars.
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  • Jon McGregor Post author

    Jon McGregor is a British author who has written three novels His first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things was nominated for the 2002 Booker Prize, and was the winner of both the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award in 2003 So Many Ways to Begin was published in 2006 and was on the Booker prize long list Even the Dogs was published in 2010 and his newest work, Reservoir 13 is due in April, 2017.

One thought on “This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You

  • I really wanted to give this 5 stars, because a good half or of the stories are just terrific I also see McGregor as one of the great up and coming English fiction writers as opposed to British there s no end of brilliant Scottish, Irish and Welsh writers Him and Ross Raisin You feel with McGregor he is always pushing at boundaries in order to express himself with accuracy, with empathy So he bends the usual practises of fiction in order to make us feel It puts some people off I felt Even the [...]


  • These stories make up a true collection, one of place Perhaps because much of it is set in the fens, at times I was reminded of Graham Swift s Waterland and that I want to reread that novel one day Only two of the stories have recurring characters, but it s as if each story needs the other to achieve that unifying impression of place, and that alone was impressive The sum being much greater than its parts Some of the stories are brilliant, but none reached the high bar set by his novels A few of [...]


  • Spicuiri din recenzia finala care se gaseste pe blogul meuCe face McGregor Titlul vorbe te de la sine, teoretic Sunt o serie de povestiri care au drept subiect banala existen a unor personaje c rora li se nt mpl lucruri care nu li s ar nt mpla niciodat Probabil c nici nu li s a nt mplat ceea ce se petrece n pove tile n care sunt protagoni ti Pove tile sunt ciudate Unuia i este fric s m n nce ou deoarece la un moment dat s ar putea s g seasc un pui viu Unui alt personaj nici m car nu afl m dac i [...]


  • These short stories range from stream of consciousness monologue to the cold hard precision of a bureaucratic report to the awkward rambling of a transcript Each is haunting and indelible, while being utterly impressive impressive in the sense of being impressed upon the reader, of leaving a mark.This is one of the very best collections I ve ever read, and if you re a fan of short fiction, particularly short fiction that leaves a lot to the reader s imagination, this is right up your alley The a [...]


  • I think the title is ironic The sort of things that happen in the stories can and do happen to many of us but it is the consideration and contemplation of the events that show us the extraordinary in ordinary lives.The stories are mostly set in a specific and closely observed landscape in an indistinct time when the characters seem to be on the brink of or living through a catastrophic situation.Some of the stories are far engaging and intriguing than others and I think the author is playing wi [...]


  • Review by Sam Ruddock Summer Reads ProducerThis Isn t The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You could be the title of any of Jon McGregor s four published books He s a writer interested in moments that change lives and the legacy of these upon his characters His debut, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, took this concept literally, fusing narratives charting the effects of a single incident and using them to create tension as another narrative built to that crescendo moment Even the [...]


  • I tend not to be a fan of short stories, they re usually not as good as novels This, of course, is a sweeping generalisation and, like all sweeping generalisations, is wrong What I like are stories with a bit of depth, which is not the same thing as length though the two are easily conflated.This collection of short stories all share a general setting and contain repeated themes, in a couple of notable instances repeated characters as well The book as a whole therefore isn t so different from th [...]


  • My friend the crime writer Jim Kelly whose books are set in Ely and King s Lynn, recommended this collection to me because my novel Ninepins was set in the fens and these stories, too, all have the fen landscape as their backdrop though in this case Lincs rather than Norfolk or Cambs I was totally blown away so much so that I felt completely disorientated when reading it on the train back from London and nearly missed my stop at Cambridge station and ended up adrift in King s Lynn which would h [...]


  • I ve been reading short stories recently, and am really starting to appreciate that they are an art form These are very eclectic, so there is an element of surprise each time They are all linked by an acute perception of how people think and feel, in all manner of situations Lyrical language and, often, the perfect word to give exactly the right nuance A delight, and one to reread and savour.


  • This collection is uneven Some of the stories are brilliant and others seem like an afterthought The stream of consciousness style is entertaining, although I found a few stories a bit pointless This book would have benefited from curating, culling, and editing I m not sure why it s considered one of the best short story collections of all time.


  • Interactive StorytellingJon McGregor doesn t so much tell stories as invite the reader to find them Take the first two items in this collection, one short, the other fairly long That Colour is a single paragraph of just over a page A woman standing in the front row of a cottage calls to a man washing dishes in the kitchen to come and look at the autumnal leaves over the road He finishes the washing he comes to her he takes her hand That is all But the writing makes you ask questions about their [...]


  • This Isn t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You is a collection of short stories 30 stories, of varying lengths one is just one sentence one is thirty pages and varying styles 1st person, 2nd person, and 3rd person narration are all used one story is in the form of a numbered list of Supplementary Notes To The Testimony Of Appellants B E another is a list of place names I don t read that many short story collections, and I don t know why not when they re good, as this book is, I qu [...]


  • Very mixed bag Some utterly stunning short stories they will stay with me Some real misses Almost felt as though it was the work of a class of students some at genius level, some who rushed a quick assignment just before class.


  • I m a huge fan of Jon McGregor s novel s If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things is one of my favourite books, ever So, as a keen reader of short stories, I was tremendously excited to get my hands on This Isn t The Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You so much so I even bought it in hardback, which I haven t done with another book in as long as I remember These stories are experimental, subtle than the novels not that they were unsubtle or conventional, quite the opposite and are somet [...]


  • When I first began reading this volume, I thought perhaps that the stories were connected They all appear to take place in Lincolnshire with one exception, which takes place in Japan, in which a main character from the Lincolnshire area is on vacation , and the author is careful to note specific place names However, the stories themselves seem to have little to do with the named places, and most could have taken place anywhere.Some of the stories are experimental in nature An early story intersp [...]


  • The most unique collection of short stories I have read so far I m not even sure some of them could be termed as such His voice is simple yet intriguing at times the way he describes everything is so beautiful, some so dreamy and yet matter of fact He brings out feeling in the subtlest of ways However in some of them I wasn t sure what was going on Is there a theme in this collection which ties everything or at least some of these stories together I get the feeling there is but I can t make out [...]


  • I passionately love McGrgeor s writing he s a prose poet of the highest talent he writes with beauty, wit, compassion and deep insight All of these qualities are apparent in this volume of short stories and poems some of them easy and accessible, others downright odd but no less brilliant for that If there s a unifying theme here, for me it s about the lenses we view events and life through and how those shift over time Whatever the unifying theme, McGregor remains for me one of the finest write [...]


  • I have loved all of Jon McGregor s other novels but this one was not for me sadly Never been a huge fan of short stories and just didn t really get these I thought they may be linked but could draw no relationships other than the locations Many of them finished without an ending I know you are meant to interpret your own ending but it just made me frustrated A couple were OK and kept me reading avidly but there were many I just didn t understand


  • can t give this a five in good conscious because there are a few short stories that i didn t like that much in here, but i still ABSOLUTELY recommend you pick it up, some of the short stories here are the best things i ve read all yearrsonal favorite stories wires, we wave and call, and we were just driving around







  • Jon McGregor s stories are rooted in the largely ignored by contemporary literature county of Lincolnshire Many of the stories in this collection are strange, incidental snatches of everyday life, often with a dark edge of impending crisis or societal breakdown They are very much the sort of thing that could you believe could happen to someone like you McGregor loves to experiment with form and with new ways of telling, and the sheer variety of the stories in the collection is exhilarating The c [...]



  • A very reluctant 4 out of 5 stars Four stories in this collection are masterfully written and warranted a wow two of which made my heart race But, a couple stories weren t worth the strain to the eyes and the remaining were just meh That said, McGregor s writing contains voices than a Rich Little show dating myself here, I know and he definitely knows how to turn a phrase Encouraged enough to check into his novels.


  • As a fan of the marvelous Even the Dogs and if Nobody Speaks, I was disappointed Despite occasional strong moments and an overall playfulness, too many of the stories are either systematically trite or else Mr Davison New York exercises in voice or style that came across as far too self conscious the pervasive menace, low key and oblique, too obviously Pinteresque.


  • With this book I made my acquaintance with Jon McGregor s short stories I m not much of a short story reader generally, but if someone can promise me they re all this good I will pick them up often.As previously with McGregor, I am highly impressed One of his great strengths is making the most of the things that are unsaid With what he writes, he manages to draw the outline of the unsaid things, not only showing the shape if not the detailed content clearly, but also showing up the effect of th [...]



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