No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

A rainbow over Northumberland – I like this better than the rainbow on the cover of the book!

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was somewhat of a tricky book to get into. The book is divided into two parts, largely consisting of short paragraphs, which sometimes do not gel together particularly well. I suspect that this was an attempt to mimic the short attention span that comes with internet (portal) engagement, especially in the context where the main character seems to make her living from being an internet personality.

Blurring the edges between where life is real and lived, compared to one’s existence on the digital plain, the book could be little more than a clever indictment of a life lived buried in technology, where there is a struggle to differentiate between what is real and what is only imagined as real because it is presented through the many screens that surround us. But part 2 of the book makes it more than this, as the random cruelty of reality slips in to the narrative with a family tragedy which makes the real world experience far more visceral than this half-life we were presented with in book 1.

The short, sharp paragraphs of part 1 almost made me feel as though our main character was struggling with something akin to ASD or ADHD, and her desire to live her life through ‘the portal’ made her a difficult character to feel any empathy for. This, more than anything else, is why I struggled with the book a little. I really wanted to feel the tragedy of what was happening with her sister and her child, but her inability to engage in depth due to a prolonged engagement with a virtual world made this almost impossible.

And perhaps really this is the point of the book? A telling message about how our engagement with a virtual world robs us of our ability to function at a holistic level within our real world?

This is the second book from the Women’s Prize Shortlist that I have read. While it would not be my winner of the two I have read, I can see why it won a place on the shortlist.

View all my reviews

Published by Deborah Siddoway

Dickens enthusiast, book lover, wine drinker, writer, lover of all things Victorian, and happily divorced mother of two lovely (and very tall) boys.

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