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We do not converse with one another. We don’t have to do that. Our purpose is to stand on the edge and ask ourselves one question. Pretend we have some kind of choice.

We are the message. The spectacle.

This is the theatre of cruelty.”

 

There’s an exactness to Will Carver’s writing that takes no prisoners, a weaponising of his prose that means that each word hits its target, laying the ground for the next. And the next. And the next. Until we have a picture of a world that is brutal and raw. A world full of nobodies. This is the world of his latest work, Nothing Important Happened Today.

From the first pages, the plot is chilling. Nine strangers make their way to London’s Chelsea Bridge to kill themselves. All received a letter in the post that morning with the words, ‘Nothing important happened today’. They are just nine of the many taking such action globally, all belonging to a previously dormant group, the People of Choice. But what’s motivating them? What’s the trigger? And why now?

The overview voice which Carver uses is distant, detached, shocking in its brutal yet true observations – and it’s this that hooks us, as we’re informed of views and behaviours that are all too familiar, that we’ve experienced or watched first-hand, often via social media. We’re both removed from the action and observers. It’s fascinating. Like watching an out there social experiment go terribly wrong.

Nothing Important Happened Today is a bleak read, it’s true. It’s an indictment on the world we live in, showcasing how seemingly ordinary people’s existences are filled with quiet – and not so quiet – moments of desperation. And what we’ll do to end that.

This is an astonishing book. Original, mesmerising, with some moments of brilliance.

It won’t leave you.

 

Will Carver | Nothing Important Happened Today | Orenda Books | 14 November 2019 | paperback original | £8.99 |

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Acknowledgements: Book text quotes © Will Carver 2019. Many thanks to Anne Cater, as always, and to the publisher for sending a book proof. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. This review is published as part of the virtual book tour. Please check out the other reviews on the tour.

 

See also: By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’;Permission by Saskia Vogel‘; ‘Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, Dialogue’s brilliant debut; ‘RW Kwon’s The Incendiaries’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

Select Q&As/interviews: Amanda Saint‘;‘Ausma Zehanat Khan’; Mary Balogh‘; ‘Louise Voss’; ‘Lilja Sigurðardóttir’; ’Tom Cox’; ‘Vanda Symon; ‘Gunnar Staalesen’; Some like it hot – the joy of Carole Mortimer, award-winning novelist

 

This review is © 2019 by The Literary Shed. All rights reserved. All opinions are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please do contact us to request permission. Any images are used for promotional purposes only. If we have unintentionally breached your copyright, please contact us and we will take the image down immediately. Thank you so much.

 

 

 

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