Book Review: Solar Bones by Mike McCormack

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Title: Solar Bones
Author: Mike McCormack
Publication Date: 28 June 2017
RRP: $19.99AUD

Synopsis: "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, baking systems, marriages - and how they may come apart.

Mike McCormack captures with tenderness and feeling, in continuous, flowing prose, a whole life, suspended in a single hour."

My thoughts: This is a remarkable book. Its style alone dictates that - written in a prose, run-on, stream of thought way that just keeps going, no full-stops at all. I found it surprisingly easy to drop into, and remarkably hard to tear myself away from. The way it is written sometimes lulls you into a gentle wondering, and sometimes seems anxiety-provoking, grabbing onto you and holding you with the urgency of its text.

Marcus is an interesting character, and not because he does anything particularly remarkable or magnificent. During the entirety of the book, he stands in his kitchen, remembering things that have happened, occasionally coming back to the present, trying to break himself out of the reverie, but generally always heading straight back into another memory.

I was gripped by this book, from the very beginning. I love the way McCormack set it all out, and how the storyline weaves in and out with those of his wife and children, how we hear from them but also hear what Marcus is thinking as they speak to him. This book manages to remind the reader of the complexity and wonder of a single life - and how that can be so easily lost amongst the world, the politics, the disasters. How it can be reduced to a number, and how that single life can want so much to just be acknowledged.

There is something wistful and wonderful about this book and, while occasionally my own thoughts tore me away from the narrative, I was gripped for the majority of the book. I highly recommend you check it out.

[I received a review copy of this book from Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!!]

A favourite line from the book: 'this moment here
this crowded room with its clutter of chairs and tables
these people, with their separate thoughts and lives
I was overwhelmed with a sense of what a strange privilege it was to be able to sit in this coffee shop among other people who did not wish me any harm and who would, more likely than not, be happy for me if they were to know that I was having a good day'

You would like this book if: you want to try something a little different, with a style all its own; you enjoy literary fiction that focuses on a single life, and its intersections with others.

Tea to drink while reading this book: it was really hard to drink anything whilst reading this book - if you do, just be prepared to have the book still in front of your face so you don't miss anything.

Rating:  8.5/10

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