Book of the Year 2010 (see all)
The Never Pages is a very odd book to behold – there's no blurb on the back, no author announced on the front and it actually looks like an old journal. It tells us the story of Mr G____, a Dream Investigator who is travelling through the Never Realm in order to find his lover Lucy and answers from a mysterious man called Brekker.
When you begin reading, that is all you know. Mr G____ is an Investigator, and as such approaches everything in a very methodical and detailed way, taking note of every single thing in his journal. This can, at first, be quite distancing – everything is presented in a very clinical way. Slowly details about Mr G____'s journey emerge, and as he grows as a character you begin to like him more and more, until his journey becomes your own.
I have to say, this is one of the best books I have read in a good long while. I warn you though, this is not a simple book to read. Reality is more like a dream, numerous interweaving dreams, and something that is presented as fact is later revealed as ludicrous fantasy seconds later. The book is also written as a journal, so you only find things out as the main character does – further muddying the waters when you are unsure of the narrator's soundness of mind. This isn't a book that you can just let wash over you, you will quickly find yourself lost if you don't pay attention as the story evolves. Don't let this put you off however, everything is explained eventually, and the last few chapters will have you exclaiming aloud when something is revealed, or a link is made between two seemingly unrelated things. I found myself not able to put the book down, desperate to know the next event in the sequence, only to have it completely subverted once again. The end of the book actually left me feeling slightly empty – not because of the ending itself, but because I was no longer on this journey, my companions were left in the pages and I had to somehow continue with my life. The notes at the end – in the form of letters or diary entries – serve to reveal all, and I ended up going back to certain chapters of the book to reread them in the light of my new-found knowledge.
As you can probably tell from my gushing words, I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading, and the first few chapters can take a little while to settle into if you question the what/why/how too much, but once you let go of these conventional storytelling techniques, The Never Pages can take you on a most fantastic journey.
Review by Jo Fitzpatrick
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