Monday, February 9, 2009

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond (a review)

No One You Know by Michelle RichmondSometimes I feel like I devour books just for the sake of having read them, rushing headlong through the pages just so I can move on to the next one. Right from the first chapter, No One You Know by Michelle Richmond made me want to pause and enjoy every word. But then at some point I got caught up in the plot—the wanting-to-know-what-had-happened—and it became harder and harder to pace myself, until the last two chapters, which I savoured slowly like fine chocolates, letting each word melt on my tongue...

No One You Know is the story of Ellie, whose older sister Lila, a math prodigy, was murdered nearly 20 years before in a crime that went unpunished (the killer was never caught). A chance encounter in Nicaragua causes Ellie to re-examine the story of Lila’s death and ultimately her own life. Richmond’s writing reminded me of Janette Turner Hospital’s (one of my favourite writers), who also writes about the lost, the missing and the murdered—although Hospital’s writing is darker. As Hospital has done, Richmond manages to use the language of obscure fields—in this case, advanced mathematics and professional coffee buying—to literary advantage. This beautifully written novel is a meditation on grief and the power of story to shape people’s lives.

This was one of my favourite books in 2008.

To read other bloggers’ opinions, head over to these blogs:
A Striped ArmchairBook AddictionBreaking the SpineCarmen Alexis’ Book TalkMichele – Only One LMusings of Bookish KittyPresenting LenoreStone SouPThe Book FrogThe 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting and Randomness

Read guest posts by Michelle Richmond on these blogs:
1st Books: Stories of How Writers Get StartedMusings of a Bookish KittyThe 3 R’s: Reading, ’Riting, and Randomness

You can also read an excerpt of the book (the first chapter and a half).

Thank you to Melissa at Shhh I’m Reading for sending me this book.


  1. I've never even heard of Janette Turner Hospital, but the things you've mentioned that are similar are among the qualities I most love in Michelle Richmond's work. So I can see I really must read Hospital's fiction.

    Thanks for the link. I had exactly the same experience -- a headlong rush even when I wanted to slow down to make it last.

  2. I loved this novel too! I recently bought Year of Fog and can't wait to read it.

  3. I was wondering if you read & liked her first book?

  4. Wow! What a great review. I'm adding this one to my wish list.

  5. Katrina, as I mentioned in my review, Hospital is darker, so keep that in mind when you read her. I'd recommend starting with an earlier book rather than a later one (I find she gets darker as she goes along too). The books I'd recommend the most are Charades and The Last Magician. The only book of hers I didn't like (and I've read them all except her very latest) was Oyster.

    Lenore, I'm definitely buying her other two novels and I can't wait for the next one!

    Melanie, this is the first book of hers I've read, but the others are definitely on my wish list!

    Thanks, Kathy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    Jill, I hadn't noticed your review! I've added a link to it in mine now (or will shortly).

  6. Between this and The Year of Fog, Michelle Richmond was my "favorite new author" of 2008.

    I've added your review link to my post - thanks for stopping by my blog!

  7. Wow, what a great review. It makes me want to read this right now!

  8. I am currently reading The Year of the Fog by the same author and I think that she is wonderful. I am already on the lookout for more of her books so I am glad to run across your review and to see that she has more good stuff out there.

  9. Yay!! I can't wait to read this book. It's been waiting patiently...for 6 months now. I'm bumping it up!

  10. Michelle Richmond was one of my favorite finds last year! A Year of Fog is wonderful too.

  11. Thanks, Florinda, I'll definitely be stopping by again!

    I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it, Serena!

    Nicole, I'm definitely on the lookout for The Year of Fog now! I'll keep an eye out for your review.

    I love hearing that I'm having a little bit of an influence on your reading, Trish! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

    I can't wait to read it, Melissa. Have you read her first novel, Dream of the Blue Room, or her collection of stories, The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress?

  12. This sounds good...and I love how you described your reactions to reading it. I know it is a good book if you slowed down to savor the ending! I'm adding it to my PBS wish list now! And I like the other links and I want to see that page about the first books. Sounds cool! So many blogs, so little time!

  13. Great Review! This was one of my favorite reads last year as well. I got an ARC copy through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. It was one of my first reviews when I started my blog last summer. I have Year of Fog on my TBR shelves.

  14. Sounds like another good one. Thanks for the review!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  15. I hope you enjoy the book when you get around to it, Jenners. And I highly recommend checking out Meg's blog. It's very inspiring!

    Bonnie, I think the copy I read was an ARC from the Early Reviewers program too, though I got it via a book ring on LT. I'm definitely buying her other books!

    Thanks for commenting, Anna! :)

  16. I have this one on my wish list.

  17. I haven't even heard of this book until I read your review! Definitely a must read! Thanks!

  18. I haven't yet read any of Michelle Redmond's fiction though The Year of the Fog is in my TBR pile. After reading your review, I can see that this should be added to my wishlist as well!

  19. I can see that you're enjoying this book! I'll add this to my book wishlist. Thanks for the great review! =)

  20. I read the excerpt of "No One You Know" and loved it. Now I have to find out what happens in the story. Please enter me into the giveaway (I became a follower).

    Marian - mdperera at hotmail dot com

  21. Hello there - I was just googling Year of the Fog as I have just read it as part of the womens bookclub in the UK.
    I have just read your review of her other book and we will be going out to buy it - thank you - Kate