In his usual eloquence Patrick Ness’s More Than This captured my heart and my imagination. An unpredictable and, in many ways, unsatisfactory read this book (in Ness fashion) raises questions that simply don’t have answers and it delves deep into the heart of what makes up a person and pushes them into action… or reaction.
Real life is only ever just real life. Messy. What is means depends on how you look at it. The only thing you’ve got to do is find a way to live there.
The book opens with death, with suicide to be more precise. Seth tosses himself into the crushing and crashing force of the ocean. Seth opens his eyes in a strangely familiar place – has he survived? Where is he? Is it real? Explanations vary throughout the text only to reveal that – there is no explanation. Wherever he may be, wherever you may be, nothing is certain in either life or death. We all just muddle through because there is always More Than This.
I am calling this a crossover novel because I think it’s message and it’s delivery is just so poignant and relate-able to many people, young and old.
The text is divided into four parts – the first deals solely with Seth. We uncover some of his life and we learn more about the world he now resides in. It is quiet, but it is grippingly unpredictable as Seth rifles through reason after rational for this strange world he now lives in. If it is his dream than maybe he can control it, if it his hell then the punishment makes sense, if it the next world then where are all the people?
As the rest of the parts unfold and we meet up with Regine and Tomasz who have their own theories, stories, lives and deaths to deal with (marvellous characters that rang very true for me). The three form an odd family unit and they fight to stay together, struggle to understand one another and they, of course, save each other. That is not to say AT ALL that this book was predictable, it most certainly twisted and turned in a satisfying and jarring way, but the basic human story lays at it’s base.
This book is brilliant, I connected to it’s style and it’s pace immediately, but it hooked me at an emotional level as well. The many questions it demands – they are just so unanswerable and wonderfully framed.
Just read it, y’hear?