About the book
A found novel
LONGLISTED: OCKHAM NEW ZEALAND BOOK AWARDS
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2017 BY RADIO NEW ZEALAND
Every day for a year, Catherine Chidgey recorded the words and language she came across during her day-to-day life – phone calls, television commercials, emails, radio shows, conversations with her family, street signs and satnav instructions. From these seemingly random snippets, she creates a fascinating portrait of modern life, focusing on the things that most people filter out.
Chidgey listens in as her daughter, born through surrogacy, begins to speak and develop a personality, and her mother slips into dementia. With her husband, she debates the pros and cons of moving to a new town. With her publisher, she discusses the novel she is writing. While, all around, the world is bombarding her with information.
In The Beat of the Pendulum, Chidgey approaches the idea of the novel from an experimental new direction. It is bold, exciting, funny, moving and utterly compelling.
Published by Lightning Books
I can guarantee you won’t have read a book like this before! What a way to start the new year with a whole new reading experience and one that I found to be a wholly unique, quirky, emotional, funny and a very touching read!
The author has been extremely clever with her approach to this book – it’s life! Her life! But told in the random way that life seems to attack us all nowadays – the constant bombardment of information from a variety of sources – be that people around you, the news, things you read, stuff you hear, things you think – and she has catalogued it monthly to give you an insight into how life evolves for us all.
It did take me a while to get my head around the style of storytelling as it is extremely choppy and random. It won’t be for everyone! But when you look at the world of social media and 24/7/365 TV coverage we all experience nowadays it is extremely normal to never seemingly have a ‘quiet’ moment. There is always something happening and her approach to this book was to include everything around her. Often it is completely insignificant and throwaway, and other times it is completely touching especially when she is discussing events happening to her family and career. Dealing with her mothers’ dementia really struck a chord with me having had family members go through the same, and the weird conversations that emerge and the amount of time you have to go over the same thing. But then you get that up against the completely random subjects of things seen on TV shows, poo, parenting, instructions in manuals, funny recollections of times gone by..oh and the Vengaboys!! It’s a weird thing to have stuck with me but I now can’t stop singing the Vengabus song because of this book!
I liken this style of storytelling to if you were flicking through the numerous TV channels and spent about 10 seconds on each, how weird and nonsensical it would all seem, or if you were overhearing conversations while out and about. You just get a snippet of what is important to that person at that time, and this is what this book brings you over a year of noting down all that is heard and experienced, thought and witnessed.
My overriding thought from reading this is that in amongst the chaos of the world around us, there is life happening to us! Considering the simplicity of this story it has been an extremely touching and thought provoking read and one I can highly recommend to you all if you’re looking for something just that little bit different to start your new year off with.