If you read The Book of Other People #1 (here) then you’ll know what I’m about to ramble on about, but here’s little bit of information for those of you who aren’t in the loop.
The Book of Other People is based around the concept of ‘making somebody up’. The variety in the way that the various contributors interpreted this task has led to a book that is full of twenty three stories. They exist wholly by themselves, but also contribute themselves to something that is much larger, deeper and all round more complex that you would expect.
The Book of Other People #2 (Stories 4 – 7)
The forth story – Gideon by ZZ Packer
Packer immediately grabs your attention with his opening line ‘You know what I mean?’. The story follows a collection of minutes between two people, Gideon and the narrator. Although little physically happens, both Gideon and the narrator twist and turn in their minds until the end result of the story is somthing quite odd. As a reader it is a little like those moments when you end up sitting next to that one person that inevitably wants to ramble on about the drama in their lives. It could annoy some people but as it is only a short story I found it grasped my attention.
The fifth story – Gordon by Andrew O’Hagan
The fifth story is set up into little sections: pride, romance, value, reason, form, sensibility, enlightenment and politics. The concept that someone’s personality can be split into separate sections or topics is an interesting one, and although little happens in this story – it leaves you thinking about what kind of sections your life, opinions and personality could be separated into.
The sixth story – Hanwell Snr by Zadie Smith
Hanwell Snr, the father of Hanwell, is depicted in this story as wholly within the mind of Hanwell. A seemingly absent father, the personality and body of Hanwell Snr is created from snippets of information, half remembered memories and a boat load of imagination. I found this story interesting as I always find people’s perceptions of myself interesting, and so to see inside someone’s mind like this is always fun!
The seventh story – J.Johnson by Nick Hornby with Posy Simmonds
A nice visual break from the previous story, J.Johnson is a bundle of short personality snaps. It is perhaps a little confusing as a lot of the snippets have a variation on the name of J.Johnson. It is hard to tell if it is a progression through time with one person, or if it is snippets of several people with similar names. I didn’t find it riveting, but at least it is only short.
What do you think about The Book of Other People? With this short review section, and the previous review, do you think it is the kind of book you’d be interested in reading?