Apparently, that feeling was shared by many since the book was acknowledged as a remarkable piece of work (including its nomination for the Man Booker Prize-2002) as well as criticised as an English student's creative writing assignment (the author was 26 and that was his debut in big literature).
The idea is simple: something remarkable could be found in the mundain. What seems to be a dull and boring life of the bunch of faceless people in an ordinary lifeless neighbourhood turns into a fascinating collection of feelings, experiences and tragic events.
This is the upper and rather flat layer of the narrative. And this idea itself is mundain and slightly manifest.
A deeper layer is suggested by the book's title: people don't speak of remarkable things happening to/ around them, and this silence - however sensible it is - makes them unhappy and hurt the others (this is why: If nobody speaks...).
Alghough there is nothing new here as well, McGregor finds a way to touch your inner strings and prompt you to ponder on your accounts of deliberate or undeliberate ignorance and reticence.
Actually, everything looks so simple. To speak of remarkable things means that:
- There is something remarkable (prominent, meaningful) in the one's life.
- It's worth to be spoken about.
- There is somebody willing to listen.
- The one feels free and inspired to speak.
- Because we think that what seems remarkable for us may be insignificant for the others.
- Because we think that saying "It's remarkable to see such clean streets" is extravagance.
- Because we think this is not the right time to speak.
- Because we think that what we say may be different from what we actually think and want to say.
- Because we try to be precautious.
- What we consider as nothing special is remarkable for the others?
- Extravagance is better than false modesty?
- The "right time" will never come or it has come already and we've missed a chance?
- Saying nothing may hurt much more than saying something wrong?
- Being "precautious" the one loses a feeling of life?
People think that they learn to speak in the early years.
But some of them (me included) learn - unfortunately - much later, and it's unbeleivably difficult...