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Pilcrow (John Cromer #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Meet John Cromer, one of the most unusual heroes in modern fiction. If the minority is always right then John is practically infallible. Growing up disabled and gay in the 1950s, circumstances force John from an early age to develop an intense and vivid internal world. As his character develops, this ability to transcend external circumstance through his own strength of ch ...more
Hardcover, 525 pages
Published 2008 by Faber and Faber
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Over 500 pages!!!!
199th out of 352 books — 88 voters
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A fascinating somewhat fictionalized biography, Pilcrow is a most unusual coming of age story combining both disability and the discovery by the protagonist that he is gay. I heartily encourage any and all to give it a read.
Matthew Gallaway
Pilcrow is about a bed-ridden/wheelchair-bound boy/adolescent growing up in England in the 1950s. Far from being depressing, however, Mars-Jones creates a character whose eye for detail and ability to make the most out of the world he lives in is truly inspiring (and often hilarious). Even better, the boy from the youngest age is cognizant of the fact that he's gay (not that he uses the word), which makes the book even more fun to read, since this kind of childhood awareness (at least as far as ...more
John Cromer è solo un bambino (curioso e molto interessato a tutto ciò che lo circonda) quando comincia a soffrire di forti dolori e riceve una diagnosi di febbri reumatiche. La cura (siamo negli anni Cinquanta) e il riposo assoluto. Purtroppo la diagnosi è errata, in realtà John soffre della malattia di Still, e il riposo assoluto, negli anni che passano prima che ci si renda conto dell'errore, bloccano quasi totalmente le sue giunture, rendendolo un disabile grave.

I was made aware of Adam Mars-Jones by the Hatchet Job of the Year award he received a few years ago for his scathing review of Michael Cunnigham's then new book. While it wasn't nearly as funny as some of the subsequent recipients' reviews, it was sharp and very intelligent. He took Cunnigham, a wonderful writer normally, to task for cramming too many literary references into his book and pontificating too much about art rather than moving the story along. He was right.

In his own book, which I
May 07, 2012 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennifer by: Dot
This is a very sweet engaging pseudo-memoir of a boy growing up disabled in 50s and 60s England and What John Cromer Did Next is something I am probably not going to want to resist. Mars-Jones has shored up that curiosity by not bothering overmuch over the ending of this fat volume. Novel sequences can and should stand alone as individual elements.

As a passionate devotee of the brilliant BBC Ouch! disability podcasts and Liz Carr in particular, this was perhaps not such startlingly original terr
This book has not had a lot of attention paid to it in North America and was brought to my attention by a friend. It is a novel that reads like a memoir and I found I had to constantly remind myself that it was in fact fiction, especially when the narrative involved real people such as Derek McCulloch, the presenter of a BBC program of music for children that I listened to as a child.

The narrator of this fictional memoir is a boy who is wrongly diagnosed with rheumatic fever as a small child and
I absolutely loved this book. I love tales that let you experience a person's childhood, but I'm very picky, and this book won me over. John Cromer has a disease that makes it nearly impossible to move most of his body (Still's Disease). In this book, we follow him from the development of this disease up until he's around 13 I believe. He's an action hero in his own right, but not in an unbelievable level where he's really just day dreaming all the time. No, everything is very real.

It's such a N
Gayla Bassham
Liked this a lot, although I must say that nothing really happens for 640 pages and then it just stops. (Apparently it is part 1 of a trilogy.) But it is quite well-written and John is excellent company, so I was content to drift along. It reminded me a little bit of the first sections of David Copperfield, but I'm not sure whether that is because there are actual parallels or just because I compare everything I like to something by Dickens. So I recommend it, as long as you are not devoted to p ...more
Jun 17, 2008 Jessica is currently reading it
I have read under a 100 pages but so far find this book to be very tantalizing although a bit tough to get through at times because it is such a dense first person narrative (the ultimate in navel gazing fiction). The author can describe so much in so few words and touches on a number of subjects (such as reincarnation, buddhism, herbalism, etc.)that get my imagination going.

The characters surrounding John and the description of their interelationships are priceless and make me chuckle quite a b
Odd but compelling read. John is a disabled boy doing an active part in participating in life. He's curious, intelligent and driven by sexual urges he doesn't yet completely understand. Not for the kids, and not for just anybody. I couldn't decide whether I hated this book or loved it, finally came down on the side of love. This decision is good for Mars-Jones, because I think there's a sequel that I'll be purchasing anon. John is a character so well-written he'll stick in your imagination.
A brilliant book with an unusual hero. I applaud Mars-Jones for sustaining this richly textured narrative for more than 500 pages.

The book follows John Cromer from early childhood into his late teenage years, showing how he copes with his disability and an institutionalised life. John is truly heroic. I laughed, was appalled, marvelled and even had my glasses steam up at one point.

Loved the humorous way that it was written. Totally engaging. The names of the characters was short of ...amazing. I was never lost with the many twists and turns. What can I say, John and all of them became a part of my life. I will not forget them. D.
Great sprawling epic of a very unique protagonist. The pace and plotting can throw you for a loop, but altogether a fun read.
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Adam Mars-Jones is a British writer and critic.
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