This morning I started reading Everybody Knows This Is NOWHERE after breakfast and did little else until I finished reading Alice Furse’s story. Though a first novel, it in no way feels like a work of apprenticeship.
Though the setting and characters are thoroughly contemporary, it has the feel of a work of the modernist movement, its sparse style, Furse’s gift for understatement, allusion and irony, the attentive depiction of the heroine’s preoccupations in an alienating office environment and within a relationship that has hit a dead end. This is very conscious artistry that dispenses of traditional narrative concerns such as plot, event, and facile resolution of the character’s circumstances.
The writer’s meticulously disciplined style and skilful rendering of character through intuitive understanding of dialogue, powerful imagery and metaphor expands the range of the novel. The novel’s heroine is unnamed, her boyfriend identified only as the Traffic Warden, yet each are fully drawn and well-defined in their own right, they each represent an impressive portrait of the atomised condition of life in the twenty-first century.
Everybody Knows This is NOWHERE signals the début of a distinctive voice in English fiction, and a style that I cannot wait to see further developed and refined in later novels.