Feb 14, 2008

Click by David Almond, Nick Hornby, Gregory Maguire, Roddy Doyle, etc.

When famous photographer George Keane passes away, his grandchildren, Jason and Maggie, are both deeply affected, though they express it in very different ways. His grandfather leaves them gifts: for Jason, he leaves a collection of pictures he took of famous people from the world of sports, including the likes of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, all autographed especially for him. For Maggie, an ornamented box with seven comportments, each containing a different kind of seashell.

These gifts, simple at first glance, end up uncovering old secrets, answering questions that had never been asked, and changing the course of their lives in unexpected ways.

Click is a story told in ten chapters, each written by a different author. The authors are Linda Sue Park, David Almond, Eoin Colfer, Deborah Ellis, Nick Hornby, Roddy Doyle, Tim Wynne-Jones, Ruth Ozeki, Margo Lanagan and Gregory Maguire.

Before I read the book, I wondered if it would be possible for ten different authors to write a novel and maintain a consistent voice throughout the whole thing. But Click deals with this problem very effectively ("duh", you will very rightfully say at this point. "What did you expect the slogan Ten Voices, One Story to mean?"). The ten chapters use ten different voices to tell this story, ten different perspectives (well, there are three chapters from Maggie’s perspective, actually, but they show her at very different points of her life, so it works). Other than Maggie and Jason, we have the stories of people who were affected by George Keane in some way, of people who have to do with the presents he left his grandchildren, of people who were featured in some of his most famous pictures. We are told the stories behind the story, and these are subtly interconnected to form an unforgettable web.

The use of different perspectives manages to make the novel both consistent and varied. Roddy Doyle takes us to Dublin in the 1970’s; David Almond shows us a beautiful island through the eyes of a girl who loves the sea; Ruth Ozeki writes of post WW2 Japan; Deborah Ellis sets her chapter in a prison in post-Soviet Russia; and in the closing chapter Gregory Maguire describes an unexpectedly scary futuristic world.

The sales of this book benefit Amnesty International, and some of these interconnected stories are a subtle warning about where the world is heading; others are a reminder of what happened not too long ago, of what still happens today. But the book manages to stay away from the kind of overly sentimental portrait of another’s misery that, good intentions aside, runs the risk of cheapening the every day reality of people experiencing strenuous circumstances. The stories in Click are subtle, relevant, graceful and poignant. I highly recommend this book.

Other Blog Reviews:
Adventures in Reading
Cynical Optimism

16 comments:

  1. When you first mentioned this book, I was intrigued, but now after reading your review, I know it is a MUST have! Thanks, Nymeth...this sounds like a truly fabulous read!

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  2. What an intriguing concept! I like it already!

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  3. This one does sound rather intriguing! Great review, I guess I will be adding it to my TBR list...I wonder if I will ever actually catch up with myself...*grin*

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  4. I got a copy of this last year as it has a few of my favourite authors contributing, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Looks like I made a good buy and I am looking forward to reading it thanks for the reminder :)

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  5. You've me intrigued about this book, Nymeth! Great review.

    BTW, you're tagged. ;)

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  6. This sounds like a very interesting and unique book! Nice review.

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  7. this is such a cool idea - one of those ideas where you can't believe no-one's done it before!

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  8. Debi: It is a great read! You'd enjoy it for sure!

    Kim: Isn't it intriguing? And fortunately it's executed really well too.

    Quixotic: I have been trying to accept that I will NEVER catch up for a while now :P Ah well, at least we'll never run out of things to read.

    Rhinoa: I really think you'll enjoy this one. It is a good buy. I need to get my own copy sometime, as I read a library one.

    Melody: I hope you enjoy it if and when you get around to reading it!

    Jeane: Thanks! It is quite unique.

    JP: lol, I thought the same. I wonder if there are more books like this out there but we just don't know about them.

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  9. It's an interesting concept. I have a book on my shelf that was written in a similar manner, but not for such a good cause.

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  10. sounds really interesting.You just made me realise that we don't have it in our store and we need to order it in now!!
    you know, i think I've ordered in almost every book you've reviewed since I've started reading yout blog:P

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  11. You have got to stop reviewing all these books!! This sounds so cool, I think I have to go out and get it. Besides, it's for a good cause, right??

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  12. Sounds like a very compelling book. Ah, I really do think the world has to know what troubles it is heading into... and perhaps, this book may do just that. Thank you for the wonderful recommendation.

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  13. Ooh I like the sound of this book. What a great concept and I like that it's also all for a good cause! I don't think I've seen this one here in the States though. I'll have to check next time I'm at the bookstore.

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  14. Honestly I probably wouldn't have given this book a second look in a book store, but your fantabulous review has me intrigued! I can see how the varied voices would be the only way to go and could give this one a nice sense of well-roundedness. Thanks for the tip!

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  15. Sounds fascinating! I have only read a few of those authors but have several of them in my TBR pile (at this point who DON'T I have in my TBR! Ha ha). Thanks for the heads up on this one!

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  16. You always have such of way of making any book sound interesting. I am very curious to see this one.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.