Solar Bones – Mike McCormack

Review From User :

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 more of Mike McCormack's work.

A heart-felt 5 out of 5 stars


Category: Contemporary, General Fiction, Novel

from Publisher’s Description:
“Funny and strange, McCormack’s ambitious and other-worldly novel plays with form and defies convention. This is profound new work is by one of Ireland’s most important contemporary novelists. A beautiful and haunting elegy, this story of order and chaos, love and loss captures how minor decisions ripple into waves and test our integrity every day.”

from NYT review [minor spoilers]:
“Mike McCormack’s ‘Solar Bones’ (winner of the Goldsmiths Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker) is a wonderfully original, distinctly contemporary book, with a debt to modernism but up to something all its own.

On Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day (when Catholics pray for the souls in purgatory), the civil engineer Marcus Conway finds himself in his kitchen feeling inexplicably disoriented, as if suddenly untethered from the world. In fact he is dead, a ghost, but he does not realize it. He hears the noontime Angelus bell from across the parish, remembers that his children have grown and moved on, and wonders how he is going to pass the four hours until his wife, Mairead, gets home from work. Finding newspapers on the table, he falls into a pedantic reverie on current events (he is not really a pedant, more a perennial worrier) that spills into thoughts of his life, then stories from his past, one cascading into another. The roughly 200 pages that follow draw together memories of family and work struggles, local and national politics, public works projects, medical crises, art, travel – in short, a life – all of it delivered in lucid, lyrical prose, with line breaks that rarely disrupt but act more like breaths, as if spoken by a friend across the table.”

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