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Next

Christine Brooke-Rose

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RRP: GBP£ 9.95
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Price: GBP£ 8.96
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857543 65 0
Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Published: March 1998
215 x 135 x 15 mm
180 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Next is a murder mystery. It is also a harrowing chronicle. Christine Brooke-Rose creates the language, and through that language the world, of the London homeless. It is a world of dispossession, and those who live within it make it habitable as best they can. They have nothing: Next omits the verb `to have' and all that follows from it. When a homeless character is alone, the word `I' only emerges in conversation, the word `my' not at all. The prose itself dissolves or `wanders' on the page when a character moves alone, unconfined by conversation or relationship.

    This is not a story of abject isolations. The voices become those of real people, and Brooke-Rose reflects their accents in the phonetic transcription for the different levels of `Estuarian' dialect some of them speak. The reader is compelled to go slowly, to read aloud in order to hear the voices, and thus to experience them on the palate in the most literal way. The fact of language is the beginning of hope. The alphabet theme runs through the book: there are 26 characters, each name a letter of the alphabet. Ten of these are in the street and their names spell QWERTYUIOP. One character tries to teach another to read.

    Next is written -- like all of Brooke-Rose's novels --in `free direct speech', a tellerless tale which contains only what hits the consciousness of a character, whether thought or speech. The tale passes from character to character without a break, only the consciousness and inflection indicating the transitions. The homeless seem to many of us an anonymous mass, until we get to know them from within.
    Praise for Christine Brooke-Rose If we are ever to experience in English the serious practice of narrative as the French have developed it over the last few years, we shall have to attend to Christine Brooke-Rose.
    Frank Kermode on Thru
    If we are ever to experience in English the serious practice of narrative as the French have developed it over the last few years, we shall have to attend to Christine Brooke-Rose.
    Frank Kermode on Thru
    Out represents quite a new departure in Miss Brooke-Rose's work... a splendid achievement...
    Isobel English
    Such is a runaway success for her original technique... funny, painful, exciting, haunting...
    Elizabeth Smart
    Her finest novel completely succeeds because subject and language are one.
    Angus Wilson on Between
    If we are ever to experience in English the serious practice of narrative as the French have developed it over the last few years, we shall have to attend to Christine Brooke-Rose.
    Frank Kermode on Thru
    Out represents quite a new departure in Miss Brooke-Rose's work... a splendid achievement...
    Isobel English
    Such is a runaway success for her original technique... funny, painful, exciting, haunting...
    Elizabeth Smart
    Her finest novel completely succeeds because subject and language are one.
    Angus Wilson on Between
    She is a sublime rollercoaster: hold on and hurtle with her - the ride will be exhilarating.
    Spectator
    We always need to have somebody who is willing to venture into the still vast terra incognita of fiction.
    Sunday Telegraph
    Her finest novel completely succeeds because subject and language are one.
    Angus Wilson on Between
    Such is a runaway success for her original technique... funny, painful, exciting, haunting...
    Elizabeth Smart
    Out represents quite a new departure in Miss Brooke-Rose's work... a splendid achievement...
    Isobel English
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