Thursday, May 28, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Books That Hooked Me (Part 6)


Part 6 of my little series of blog posts about books that had an impact on me, and we come to the book that has been on the top of my favourites list for quite a while now. Jeff Noon's Falling Out of Cars.

There is just something about this book that I absolutely adore. It's a surreal road trip as a group travel the country on a bizarre mission. Henderson, Peacock and Marlene are on a mission to recover fragments of a mirror that may be at the heart of a strange affliction that is hitting the population of Britain - images, information, and signs all start to become unintelligible. People get lost staring at mirrors, and the world is covered with fabric or paint to try to mask every reflective surface. In order to keep sane, the team take regular doses of a drug called Lucidity, but even that cannot hold back the weird effects of these mirror fragments.

There's an amazing sequence of them going into a building where a fragment is, but the text repeats as they are trapped in a loop of events, seeing themselves on CCTV repeating the actions. It's brilliant and mindbending.

I bought it back when I was working in Ottakar's, and since then I've bought many, many copies when I've found them at a good price so I can give them to people I think would enjoy it. I even bought the ebook of it so I can carry it around with me on my phone in case I'm stuck waiting for a train, or in a waiting room somewhere. It doesn't matter if I can't remember where I was on the reread, the fluid nature of the narrative means you can jump in at any point and it's still brilliant.

Recently I've been reading Jeff Noon's more recent work, a cool series of detective novels set in a weird 1950's. A Man of Shadows details the PI John Nyquist as he tries to track down a missing girl between two parallel cities - Dayzone and Nocturna. One where it is kept permanently day, the other permanent night. Really cool stuff, and I'm about half way through the second book The Body Library, where Nyquist is caught up in a city where narrative and stories are key, and writing can shape reality.

There was talk about Falling Out of Cars being made into a TV series, and I hope one day it happens. I always get the feeling of a darker version of 28 Days Later for the look (without the zombies) of them travelling motorways in a weird road movie.

1 comment:

Tim Knight said...

I'd welcome any Jeff Noon-inspired TV show, but given the choice I'd pick Vurt as my preferred choice (as this was my gateway into his world).