Tag Archives: Books

  • Shy by Max Porter

    Note: These are the first book notes I’m writing, so bear with me. I don’t want to craft reviews per se…I never did enjoy book reports. So call this an impression. Or, just some notes.


    (I’m writing this some time after reading this book, so I may have to re-read, and then revise this post.)

    This book is important to me, in a large part because it showed me how a certain type of mental chaos can be captured with the written word, and how well it can work in terms of form, and something to be read by others. All of this made me feel a little less trapped in what I’ve experienced myself, and made me feel like I could one day get some of it into words, if I want to.

    I hope that you don’t relate to much of what’s in this book. But if you do, you might find it similarly…liberating? Comforting albeit in a kind of terrible way? Admittedly I found the book somewhat disturbing on account of being able to relate to some of what’s in it.

    All in all I recommend this book for both its style and content. I imagine your mileage may vary depending mainly on how much the character resonates with you…which feels like a lazy way to put it, but it is very much inner-life, inner-monologue, inner-turmoil focused.

    I don’t recommend this book if you might find topics of mental health, depression, or suicide triggering.

    I think this book was very well written. It was easy enough to read as well, despite subject matter (a lot of mental unrest) – I read it during a flight to Vegas. I do want to re-read it before long.


    I’ll include highlights I made here, but they’re not to be taken as quotes – just bits of language I wanted to save for one reason or another.

    • she tunnelled darker and more stubbornly into her melancholy
    • strange visions of herself as old
    • strangled manners
    • she has a sudden clear ambition for a neat and hurtful leaving
    • Eve fixating on a shocking scene, the body which would no longer be her problem
    • a gesture to the stupid cult of longevity
    • so she plans it, night after night, feels less alone when she’s plotting, waits for a full moon, stolen gardener’s rope coiled cinematic beneath the bed,
    • the floorboards complain, stone steps whisper her name
    • briskly bloody-minded
    • unrealistic soft and beautiful and picture-book charming, big and alive from above as if another person’s story has been slid or remembered into hers
    • Hello Eve, not tonight, not yet
    • talking about all the things she doesn’t want to miss in the next few years, the seventies, the music that’s coming, the love, the books, the freedom of movement beyond the body policed and ill-fitting, the widening of her life,
    • now she’s not dead she may as well run as fast as she can, wheeling around the pond, remembering for him,
    • noisy breath in her head, hammering heart life,
    • she’s left the rope in the tree, sinister joke, but that’s tomorrow’s worry
    • and he starts to scream, a fully unselfconscious cry, like a baby, pure wailing
    • It might be good for you to go somewhere and shout it out.