Responses to November from early readers: family, friends and strangers.

a) From (not-to-be-trusted?) friends and family:

Teresa, my partner, a day after she finished reading Part Three,
‘Sai? Mi mancano quei ragazzi…’ (You know? I’m missing those guys…).

Amma, after reading the first 280 pages in the space of three days:
‘There’s something about it I don’t quite like. When can I see some more?’

John, on receiving the first 500 pages:
‘It’s the real deal.’

Piers (who once worked in a plastics die-casting factory), after reading the first two parts: ‘It works. The whole thing works.’

Liz, who provided encouragement, chapter by chapter, and also on occasion some bracing feedback, triggering a couple of whole-chapter redrafts:
‘This novel is a masterpiece. The sheer linguistic exuberance leaves you wanting yet more. I look forward to the sequel.’

Edward, ‘it’s a novel that subverts the notion of the “common man”’.


b) From people not known to me – at least at the time they read November:

Anonymous reader for Dalkey, quoted (surely unreliably!) by the publisher:
‘the greatest work since Homer’.

Another anonymous reader for Dalkey, quoted in the same email:
‘absolutely no way [should you consider publishing that novel]!’

Paul: ‘As I read it, I felt I was weaving the threads of the characters’ lives into a tapestry.’
Later: ‘Many thanks for such a grand read. I wanted it to continue and to find out more of the loves and lives of the characters (even Jean!). A joy!’

Donald, after reading the first two parts (in 2008):
‘I have never come across any such writing nor have I seen such risks as it takes, and at the same time I felt completely engaged with the interior world of each individual… its absolute originality is dynamically disorienting and… the characters move me deeply.’