Review of All The Places I've Ever Lived by David Gaffney

Posted by in netgalley copy

There are some things I don't understand about this book.

I don't understand the title. Sure, there's an off-handed comment at one point about all the places he lived, but is that really enough to name your book after?

I don't know what peri-urban noir means, which is how the book describes itself. Near urban noir? So suburban noir? I don't understand.

I don't understand the point of anything that happened. Yes, life doesn't have to have a point, ergo neither does fiction, but he flies around on a magical, knock-off Vespa with the ghost of a girl whom his father may have attacked, or his best friend, to the future, where a mass shooting happens which relates somehow to the metal lesions that have appeared all over his body, and there's scuba diving to put garden gnomes in the bottom of lakes, and he might be a Communist spy (we are in the 1970s) or maybe he just has psoriasis, he also might have killed someone, unless he didn't, and someone there's a cousin of his friend named Siobhan who he might have framed for murder in order to save his parents in the future, and the shop girl is stalking his father because his mother gave her shoes from a charity bin twenty years ago, and the ghost girl isn't actually dead, and there's a nuclear plant, and a thermometer factory, and the girl he likes is a lesbian, and all he wants to do is play his folk guitar and not punk, but he plays in a punk show, and this is all too much.

There's this one track where it's quite a compelling story. But then there's this other track where it's just like standing in the ocean and getting hit by a wave, overwhelming, crazy, madness. I stayed up late to read it, and got up early to finish it, but it's still bat-shit crazy no matter how compelling it may be.

All the Places I've Ever Lived by David Gaffney went on sale February 23, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.