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Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018 

Words are important to Gretel, always have been. As a child, she lived on a canal boat with her mother, and together they invented a language that was just their own. She hasn’t seen her mother since the age of 16, though - almost a lifetime ago - and those memories have faded. Now Gretel works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature. 

A phone call from the hospital interrupts Gretel’s isolation and throws up questions from long ago. She begins to remember the private vocabulary of her childhood. She remembers other things, too: the wild years spent on the river; the strange, lonely boy who came to stay on the boat one winter; and the creature in the water – a canal thief? – swimming upstream, getting ever closer. In the end there will be nothing for Gretel to do but go back. 

Daisy Johnson’s debut novel turns classical myth on its head and takes readers to a modern-day England unfamiliar to most. As daring as it is moving, Everything Under is a story of family and identity, of fate, language, love and belonging that leaves you unsettled and unstrung. 

©2018 Daisy Johnson (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"Daisy Johnson is a new goddamn swaggering monster of fiction." (Lauren Groff)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Beautiful but complicated.

Exquisite use of language, almost poetic, but ultimately too confusing to take in in this format, especially if you listen at night. I will probably resort to the hard copy book form.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Vivienne
  • Nuneaton, United Kingdom
  • 15-10-18

Powerful tale

Beautifully written and narrated. Lyrical imagery that draws upon the mythic and nature. Gives me plenty to think. about.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Challenging

Beautifully written, resonant. It is a difficult read; I tried the book, but was missing a lot, as I am a lazy reader and tend to skip descriptive passages. Listening to it enabled me to enjoy and appreciate the atmosphere and the sense of place.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Utterly unique with a jaw dropping twist ! This is a must read, treat yourself to this treasure .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written

I loved this book. I thought the way in which it was written was beautifully descriptive and poetic. A dark story, love the way it was set on the canals and rivers, really worked well with the mood of the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful