Claire-Louise Bennett’s Checkout 19 is a book unlike anything you will have read before. Its most obvious quality is that librarians will have little clue where to put it; at times a fast changing novel, at others a magnificent listing of a life lived in books, and at others a smartly written polemic on the vicissitudes of contemporary society, it’s simply unclassifiable.
Bennett has a finely-tuned style, based often on a never-ending conversation with herself, shifting between the formal syntax of a highfalutin literary master and the more gritty, bare world of the narrator’s own travails.
Mainly, though, she’s great company, something the myriad books we’re told about have as their greatest quality as well.
Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett is out now (Vintage, £14.99)
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