...it's enough to put you into a permanent slump. It isn't that the plot is so magnificent or that the characters are particularly original, it's that the writing is just so damn good.
Andrew O'Hagan had me on page one - truly gripped and completely relaxed in the knowledge that I was in the hands of a master for 278 pages of brilliant prose. Whether it was the "smirr of rain", "the lipstick smile" or the "windows the size of bibles" I groaned with appreciation of the originality yet appropriateness of the phrases.
There are life changing experiences for various characters. When the housekeeper finds an ancient note tucked deep under the mattress by her husband telling her "I DON'T LOVE YOU ANY MORE", I found myself startled on her behalf, not by the fact of the lovelessness but by the bitterness that must have led him to put the note there in the first place. To imagine finding such a note is to wish yourself permanent despair.
The priest tells of his school's tradition of pupils and staff wending their way to the annual picnic at Gormire Lake by any means of transport possible, and how he made his journey by elephant accompanied by cheers, and in so doing realised that imaginative impulses can be made real.
And then there are the comments leisurely chucked into the brew, that speak with painful honesty and admit to singular snobbery, such as the advertising hoardings speaking "of other people's choices" - don't they just?
Even a blogger wants to shape words in a way that creates interest, and Be Near Me is surely a prime example of the good stuff.