Title: Within Without
Author: Jeff Noon
From the back: In the year 1960, private eye John Nyquist arrives in Delirium, a city of a million borders, to pursue his strangest case yet: tracking down Oberon, the stolen, sentient image of faded film star Vince Craven.
As Nyquist tracks Oberon through a series of ever-stranger and more surreal borders, he hears tantalising stories of the Yeald, a First Wall hidden at Delirium’s heart. But to get the help he needs to find it, he’ll have to journey into the fractured minds of the city’s residents, and even into his own…
The gist: Never let it be said that Noon’s writing is anything less than the epitome of weird. After the events of Creeping Jenny, I thought perhaps Nyquist might get a bit of a rest, a bit of a holiday, a bit of anything that didn’t involve jumbling up all the pieces of his lived experience and then putting them back together the wrong way around while trying to solve crime and hopefully not die.
But this time Nyquist gets a friend along for the ride, Teddy, to share the burden.
And it’s a reliably strange ride indeed, starting off with the weirdest queue (and hey, I’m British, I know about queues), taking a tour through Hollywood glamour, and ending up, well, you’ll see when you get there. There’s something about Noon’s writing that is physical—the way he takes you across the many borders in the book is dizzying. Some of the regions are claustrophobic while others feel like you’ve fallen through the wrong door at a midnight carnival, and probably shouldn’t have eaten those tasty looking mushrooms for breakfast. And all of this—all the mystery, all the glamour, all the crazy and chaotic places—draws you in until you wonder if you might be lost. And when you’re really lost, you start to wonder who you even are, and who you’ll be when you get back.
It’s weird, it’s thoughtful, and it’s a pretty crazy journey.
Favourite line: A creature of blur had taken occupation.
Read if: You want yet more weirdness and inventive detectivery (that is a word now) in the fourth instalment of the Nyquist series.
Read with: Your passport cos you’re going places you’re just not sure where. It might also help you keep a handle on who you are.
Get it: Within Without by Jeff Noon
ARC gratefully received from Angry Robot and Netgalley