Patricia Lockwood: No One Is Talking About This
- Lynsey May
- 28 July 2021
Ahead of her Edinburgh International Book Festival appearance, we review Patricia Lockwood's Booker-nominated debut novel
Following on from Patricia Lockwood's explosive memoir Priestdaddy is her equally impactful debut novel No One Is Talking About This, a book about a nameless protagonist navigating a life that is largely lived online. In contemporary novels, avoiding writing about the tech that has infiltrated our lives often feels contrived, while coy mentions of memes and social posts can be cringeworthy in the extreme.
No One Is Talking About This tackles problem of depicting the tech infiltration of everyday life with such gusto that it is easy to forget you're reading a novel at all. But a novel it is. And as a reader, the hunt and discovery of a connecting narrative is a sometimes frustrating but ultimately rewarding experience. This is a book of two halves. Firstly, it hooks and entertains the reader with a series of recognisable digital experiences, all told with the sort of dark humour that leaves you questioning which of the events recounted are too strange to be true against those you can vaguely remember from your own search history, then sneaking in with a real emotional punch.
There comes a tipping point for the main character and the narrative style when her sister gives birth to a child who is unwell. Reality begins to chip away at the construct, resulting in a self-awakening of sorts for the protagonist and a richer, more heartfelt experience for the reader. No One Is Talking About This is a masterful wrangling of a fragmented, digital existence into a coherent, emotional story.
Patricia Lockwood will be appearing in an online event with Raven Leilani, Thursday 19 August, 7.15pm, Pay What You Can.