ManBookering discussion

Everything Under
This topic is about Everything Under
190 views
2018 Longlist [MBP] > Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Maxwell (new) - added it

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
This thread is for discussion of Everything Under by Daisy Johnson.

Please be considerate of spoilers when posting your thoughts. Either use the spoiler tag or make it clear at the top of your comment that you will be posting specific details of the story.

Happy reading & discussing!


Meike (meikereads) Just finished it - now this is the kind of book I want to discover on a Booker list! This text is the reworking of a Greek tragedy (which one? (view spoiler)), a horror/ghost story, and a hall of mirrors - Daisy Johnson knows how to write exciting experimental fiction! As the novel progresses, the mythological source becomes clear, but she twists and turns the story and introduces a whole cabinet of doppelgängers, mirror images, and shape-shifting ghosts. Recurring topics are the nature of fear and the question whether there is something like destiny - and have I mentioned that the way she employs the natural surroundings of a river to illustrate and strengthen her story is simply fantastic?

Here's my review.


Hugh (bodachliath) | 151 comments Started this last night and so far I am impressed.


Neil | 511 comments Me, too. Started last night and it was a very welcome change after finishing Snap a few hours earlier. Looking forward to more today. Got mine from NetGalley and, for once, the “send to Kindle” seems to have worked so I don’t need to read on my iPad.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer Loving this so far. A book of the liminal, legend and lexicography.


Neil | 511 comments I am reading this very slowly. It is worth taking time over.


Neil | 511 comments Loved this! Top of my ranking after seven books.


Hugh (bodachliath) | 151 comments I finished this yesterday too and was very impressed. I just put together a list of reviews (all of them 5-star) for a Tweet, so I thought I'd share it here:
Meike
Neil
Gumble's Yard
Jonathan
Hugh


Meike (meikereads) Thanks, Hugh!!


message 10: by Britta (last edited Jul 30, 2018 05:07PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
The writing is beautiful (despite some silly statements like "Old people are a species of their own" that are scattered throughout the book), and atmospheric. But unfortunately, the story didnt work for me at all. (view spoiler)
2*


Meike (meikereads) Britta, I think Johnson never intended to write a realistic book in the first place, just like the Greek myth and the fairy tales she is working with are not meant to be read as realistic stories - they use other aesthetic means to discuss their topics. And why shouldn't contemporary novelists be allowed to do that as well? In experimental fiction, I expect the writer to suprise me with innovative, edgy decisions to tell her story.

Still, I see that when you are not into that kind of storytelling, you woulndn't like this book.


message 12: by Neil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Neil | 511 comments Britta, I completely understand that you (and others) do not like this book. That's fine. But I don't understand

"Greek mythology might get away with coincidences like this but a contemporary novelist doesn't."

Why can't novelists today do that? It seems to me that we want novelists to do everything possible to tell us a good story and I wouldn't want to rule anything out.


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Neil wrote: "Britta, I completely understand that you (and others) do not like this book. That's fine. But I don't understand

"Greek mythology might get away with coincidences like this but a contemporary nove..."


Yes, any novelist can do whatever they like, but for me, a string of unlikely coincidences just isn't good story. Sorry!


message 14: by Britta (last edited Jul 31, 2018 12:11AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Meike wrote: "Britta, I think Johnson never intended to write a realistic book in the first place, just like the Greek myth and the fairy tales she is working with are not meant to be read as realistic stories -..."

That's precisely why I think the book is flawed: if you want to tell a fairy tale, tell a fairy tale, but the mix of mythology and realism just didn't work for me. Mainly because I think the magical part was too flimsy, and should have been emphasized much more.


message 15: by Neil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Neil | 511 comments It is interesting the way we all see books differently. I think the mix of mythology and realism is what captivated some of us. And once you allow mythology into the mix, you can have as many coincidences as you like!


Meike (meikereads) I'm with Neil on this: I don't think there should be rules or boundaries regarding how to tell a story, and the aim of experimental fiction is to break down any limitations. Of course it's possible to not enjoy this though.


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
@neil: Yes, indeed, viewing books very differently makes the discussion all the more interesting. And: I'm happy for those of you who loved the book!


message 18: by Hugh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hugh (bodachliath) | 151 comments I can see where you are coming from Britta, but I never expected this book to be believable - indeed I think it is largely about where the power of such myths comes from, and in the end I allowed myself to go along with it. It will be very interesting to see what Johnson does next...


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Hugh wrote: "I can see where you are coming from Britta, but I never expected this book to be believable - indeed I think it is largely about where the power of such myths comes from, and in the end I allowed m..."

Oh, I'm definetely interested in what Johnson does next as well!


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Meike wrote: "I'm with Neil on this: I don't think there should be rules or boundaries regarding how to tell a story, and the aim of experimental fiction is to break down any limitations. Of course it's possible..."

Oh, I'm all for experimental fiction! (I didn't think this book was all that experimental, though). I guess the difference between us is that for me, the retelling of a myth does have to 'make sense' in the setting that is chosen, i.e it should make sense to the reader even if he/she has never heard of the myth that is used as the premise.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer On the subject of coincidence, I am with Marvel.

“It was a coincidence, but he was not a man who scoffed at coincidence.”


Meike (meikereads) Gabriel, this book has hardly any political topicality, so don't worry! (I generally wish the list would be more political, but well...)


Meike (meikereads) I hope you'll like it! :-)


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer I am with Meike; on a longlist chosen largely to reflect "a world in the brink" (the judges words) this is one of the few books on the list which is more timeless.

Oddly one of the others is Snap but please don't take that as a recommendation to read it!


message 25: by Robert (last edited Aug 19, 2018 10:25PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars


David Sunita wrote: "I just finished a couple of days ago and still have to write a proper review, but I'm definitely in the minority on this one. The prose is lovely at times, but the book suffers from debut novel fla..."

Sunita, I am right there with you. Only 14 pages in and already I feel similarly. Will keep an open mind and allow room for pleasant surprises but already this feels unpolished; fresh but immature, experimental but rather sloppy.


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
David wrote: "Sunita wrote: "I just finished a couple of days ago and still have to write a proper review, but I'm definitely in the minority on this one. The prose is lovely at times, but the book suffers from ..."

And me as well! :-)


Dianne (derbyrock) | 5 comments I’m with Sunita on this. Once the myth was figured out it was just repetitive and frankly boring. There wasn’t a character who felt believable enough to invoke empathy. I was looking forward to this one. Hugely disappointing.


Keriann (kad123) This book wasn't for me at all, I did like the writing and infact thought it was beautiful however I found this book a bit tedious and boring and skimmed a lot of it....that being said I know it's just down to my reading taste....I wouldn't mind if this made the shortlist x


Noël (the_book_rook) | 6 comments The writing is good. I felt like it needed an editor to take it in hand and pare back the many plot threads that suddenly needed to be resolved in 20 pages.


back to top