I just finished This is How by M.J. Hyland and really loved it, it made me realise how long it’s been since the excitement of beautiful books like The Life of Pi.
The story is set in, um, the 60’s I think and follows Patrick, a guy in his early twenties who simply wants someone to love. Unfortunately though he’s not quite all there and has a tendency to over analyse situations – and never positively. He’s one of those people who could have 100 great things happen and 1 bad thing could wipe them out completely.
As things progress in the book, Patrick tries to get pretty much every female character he meets to fall in love with him, whilst he perceives every male character to be against him or mocking him. There is also a very odd regular gay undertone with nearly every male character in the book that is usually just hinted at but really fills the pages with a strange unspoken tension.
Things go seriously wrong though in one of the moments when he’s not all with it and he ends up in prison. From there, it’s simply a downward spiral for him as he deals with the results of his terrible mistake. The first half of the book seems to be about how Patrick never has any freedom from his past, but in the second half he realises what he has lost and how his freedom is gone forever.
The story is one part of the book that is good, but the best thing is some of the beautiful throwaway lines showing how detached Patrick can be from the real world that the author litters the book with…
“But he screwed other women. He screwed them like rabbits, He used them up like cheap whores. He probably screwed Georgia.”
The judge calls for order, asks the prisoner to stop shouting.
I hadn’t known I was shouting.
It’s a great book although I’m not sure if you’d like it, if it had tigers in it then it would have more chance of your approval I think.