Jon Mcgreggor’S If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things Examines

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Jon McGreggor’s If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things examines the social dichotomy of the ordinary and the remarkable. This is an attempt to dismantle the divide, and turn accustomed daily commonalities into objects of miraculous relevance and beauty. McGreggor’s novel uses anonymity to focus on the lack of true communication: the detrimental effects of this vacuum on our daily lives and how we see beauty. The scarcity of names is easily identifiable as a crucial aspect of this approach. Names are commonly a person’s main identifier. Alternatively in this novel namelessness distinguishes the characters by simple descriptors and their practices, allowing full development and inhibiting any racial bias by the reader. The lack of the…show more content…
This atypical approach avoids pigeonholing the novel and allows the message to be cross-cultural, and universal. Throughout the book, the female narrator mentions that she “can’t even remember people’s names”. (11) While this could be considered an explanation for the lack of proper names for the subjects, it is unreasonable to believe that the narrator would remember all of the apartment numbers and not her neighbors names. The narrator is not the only person on her block to be secluded from the people who are so physically proximate to her. The boy from number eighteen wrote on the back of a photograph, “ There are so many people in this world he says, and I want to know them all but I don’t even know my nextdoor neighbor 's name”. (216) The fact that all of these people are jam packed together so closely, yet their lives seldom overlap, shows a communal disunion. Globally there is such an expanse of beauty and wonder, yet nobody stops and examines the beauty that is surrounding them. On a smaller level, the use of names to show miscommunication can been seen between the girl with the small, square glasses and her mother. When she tells her mother she is pregnant, one of the first things she does is mention “a list of names, none of which I [the girl with the small square glasses] would have thought of, and none of which I like”. This simple display shows the divide between the mother and daughter and their extreme lack of proper
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