Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But, at the same time, they leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.
That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People of Choice: a mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.
Thirty-two people on a train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People of Choice are appearing around the globe. It becomes a movement. A social-media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers.
The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader who does not seem to exist …
So excited to be on the blog tour for this hotly-anticipated book by Will Carver, Nothing Important Happened Today. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
I’ve dreaded writing this review today because, although I finished the book on Sunday, I still haven’t figured out how to review it or exactly what I want to say. I haven’t even really figured out what I think about the book yet. But, hey, the review is due today so I’ll give it my best stab, knowing full well that it isn’t going to come anywhere near doing this book justice.
I seem to be saying this quite a lot recently, but I’ve really not read anything like this before and, now I’ve read this book, I realise that every other time I’ve said this, the sentiment has been defunct. This book is so unique, so ‘out there,’ so unlike anything else you’ll pick up that you can’t quite get your head around it while you are reading, but it absolutely impossible to put down once you start. I know that it seems odd, given the subject matter, but it’s true. This isn’t an easy book to read, the issues covered are on the darkest side of dark and may be triggering for some, the construction is so unusual that it may well twist your noodle, but you will possibly never read anything that gives you so much reward for the effort.
Because of the writing. Oh, the writing is so sublime that when I think about it, it makes me want to weep for the dark, twisted genius mind that produced it and how my own, pathetic efforts at writing something meaningful are thrown into sharp, unflattering relief by its beauty. Seriously, I have no idea how the author managed to piece this book together and still make the writing flow so perfectly. I mean, this book is written in both the first AND the third person. The narrators are a diverse bunch of voices, most of which we don’t get to know intimately, but only through the detached, dismissive opinion of someone who has given them dehumanising labels rather than names. The ‘main character’ doesn’t appear until a third of the way in. This is a book that should not work. It breaks every rule that authors are given on writing. We are told that we have to connect the reader to the main character at the beginning, snare in their empathy, make them care. This book does the exact opposite, and yet. And yet, I was caught from the first page and held until the last. How did he do it, I’m still trying to work it out.
This book really does cover some bleak subjects. Mass suicide, cults, mental health issues, psychological manipulation, and the descriptions of the violent scenes are graphic. You can hear the necks snapping, the screams, the splats. This is deliberate and necessary for the book but will not be easy reading for a lot of people. But there is a point to all of it and this book has me contemplating the issues raised ever since. Even though I have moved on to another book. As I’m washing my hair, drinking my tea, cooking the dinner. I actually had to pick up something completely mindless and superficial as a follow up, because my brain is still processing what is going on in this novel and what to make of it.
This is a book about modern society. About our craving for acceptance through social media, and the superficiality of those connections and approval. How, in reality, despite being more connected across the globe than ever, we are all really alone, isolated and insecure. How open we all are to manipulation in our quest for approval and acceptance. How people are willing to jump on any bandwagon in the search to belong, for fame and infamy, in order to FEEL. How, the more we all need to feel of consequence in a world where fame rests on the shoulders of people who have achieved nothing of relevance, the more we are becoming disillusioned for no reason. Dissatisfied by lives that are perfectly adequate, seeing problems where none really exist. Trying to find meaning in the meaningless and missing the things that really matter. Selfish, self-obssessed but totally lacking in real self-awareness.
I am aware that this review doesn’t entirely make sense, but that is because I am still processing the book and trying to sort through the labyrinth of thoughts and feelings it has aroused in me. It has turned my brain and emotions into a tangled ball of wool that it will take me hours to unravel. I know that this is a book that I will return to again soon so I can go through it in more detail, after the shock of the first read has worn off, and pick out more of the nuances. And I know that, on a second reading, I will have a different reaction, find different things to extract, and different thoughts to ponder. The book is so complex, so packed with ideas and meaning, that it will continue to reward on repeated reads.
What I have said here feels inadequate to sum up my feelings about the book. I am grasping for words to sum up thoughts and emotions for which I have no adequate vocabulary, but it’s the best I can do. This book is radical, risky, raw and utter genius. It won’t be for everyone, and for me to say I loved it seems wrong, given the topic, but I am so glad I read it, and will come back to it again and again when I want to be challenged. One of my books of the year, without a doubt.
Nothing Important Happened Today is out now in all formats and you can get a copy here.
This is a book that is sure to stir fierce opinions in people, so make sure you check out some of my fellow bloggers’ reactions to the book by following the tour.
About the Author
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.
Connect with Will:
Facebook: Will Carver Author