This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You

Jon McGregor

Tender, sad, funny, and riveting, this is an astonishing collection of work by one of Britain’s finest contemporary writers.

A man builds a tree house by a river, in anticipation of the coming flood. A sugar-beet crashes through a young woman’s windscreen. A boy sets fire to a barn. These aren’t the sort of things you imagine happening to someone like you. But sometimes they do.

Set in the flat and threatened fenland landscape, where the sky is dominant and the sea lurks just beyond the horizon, these delicate, dangerous, and sometimes deeply funny stories tell of things buried and unearthed, of familiar places made strange, and of lives where much is hidden, much is at risk, and tender moments are hard-won.

Reviews of This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You

    • ‘Jon McGregor’s stories are strange and lovely masterpieces’ Sarah Hall
    • ‘McGregor is the nearest thing you will ever come across to a literary Beethoven. Words go beyond being tools of his trade and become an orchestrated, inspired and precisely designed tone poem for each creative idea … One of the most perfect pieces of written English I have ever come across’ Sunday Express
    • ‘Jon McGregor writes with frightening intelligence and impeccable technique. Every page is a revelation’ Teju Cole
    • ‘Sharp, dark and hugely entertaining, this collection establishes McGregor as one of the most exciting voices in short fiction’ Observer
    • ‘Set in and around the fens, these wickedly brilliant stories are as black as the local soil … Throughout, omissions and ellipses set the mind racing like a treacherous tide, rushing in to fill the gaps. Not a book for bedtime, then. But very, very good indeed’ Daily Mail
    • ‘To the anxious literary festival audience member – and anyone else feeling downcast about the state of the short story today – I say, read Jon McGregor’s new book. Its verve, its inventiveness, its sheer quiet audacity will reassure you that the short story is alive, well and reaching new heights’ Maggie O’Farrell, Guardian
    • ‘Haunting and brilliant’ Independent
    • ‘A writer alive to the lithe life of language … A huge talent’ Sunday Times
    • ‘A striking collection … the prose is picked clean, pellucid’ Sunday Telegraph
    • ‘McGregor’s prose is as sparse as the countryside it has alighted on, with barely a simile or metaphor in sight’ Literary Review
    • ‘There is a lot to chew over and a lot that stays in the mind’ Psychologies