Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

Everything Under

Words are important to Gretel, always have been. As a child, she lived on a canal boat with her mother, and together they invented a language that was just their own. She hasn’t seen her mother since the age of sixteen, though – almost a lifetime ago – and those memories have faded. Now Gretel works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature.A phone call from the hospital interrupts Gretel’s isolation...

Details Everything Under

TitleEverything Under
Release DateJul 12th, 2018
PublisherJonathan Cape
GenreFiction, Magical Realism, Literary Fiction

Reviews Everything Under

  • Hugh
    Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018I will start with an apology - I know that a few friends have finished this one in the last couple of days - and I have been deliberately avoiding reading your reviews until I finished it myself because otherwise I would probably feel there is nothing fresh to say, and this really is a vibrant first novel from a very talented young writer, which thoroughly merits its inclusion on the longlist and could be a...
  • Meike
    Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018 This text is the reworking of a Greek tragedy (which one? (view spoiler)[Oedipus Rex (hide spoiler)]), a horror/ghost story, and a hall of mirrors - Daisy Johnson knows how to write exciting experimental fiction! As the novel progresses, the mythological source becomes clear, but she twists and turns the story and introduces a whole cabinet of doppelgängers, mirror images, and shape-shifting ghosts. Recur...
  • Gumble's Yard
    A literary novel of the liminal, language, leaving and legend, longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker prize. The river cut into the land. It was no good. She walked and walked until she slept. She saw the people on passing or moored boats looking at her and understood she did not look like a boy. She looked like something in between, uncertain, only half made. This is firstly a book of the liminal. Transitions and fluidity of gender, of family relati...
  • Ova Incekaraoglu
    This book will win the Man Booker prize. I know it. (I will blame the jury if it doesn't)I am in shock, and awe. I am disgusted by some parts of this book but I am also equally blown away. I have never read something like this before.I dived into this book after reading the truly vague blurb, and thought `oh boy, this will be either a favourite or a disaster!`. I am Turkish, not a native English speaker and of some heavily metaphorical books that...
  • Paul Fulcher
    "This is your story – some lies, some fabrications – and this is the story of the man who could have been my father and of Marcus, who was, to begin with, Margot – again, hearsay, guesswork – and this story, finally, is – worst of all – mine. This beginning I lay claim to. This is how, a month ago, I found you."In a year when the Man Booker jury has seen fit to broaden the definition of the prize in several troubling directions - low ...
  • Blair
    Everything Under is about just that: the things that lurk beneath the surface, of a river, of a memory, of a person. It is a slow unspooling of a horrifying and tragic story, a queer, found-family (sort-of) reimagining of a myth – I'd best not say which one, though it's mentioned in loads of reviews if you're curious. It should be unbearably disturbing. Yet it is also beautiful and ethereal, a story that casts life on the margins as both magica...
  • Neil
    "There are more beginnings than there are ends to contain them."This arresting phrase caught my eye as I read this novel. It seems to say something about memory, which is discussed often during the course of the story ("Even the history I thought I’d kept was wrong"), but also about a a dominating theme of destiny:"But sometimes I wonder if you are right and if all of our choices are remnants of all the choices we made before. As if decisions w...
  • Jonathan Pool
    This is my fourth read of the Man Booker Prize Longlist 2018, and so far, the most difficult to fully absorb.There is a sense of menace and of foreboding from the start. The book’s central idea, embodied in “The Bonak” is introduced early. The Bonak recalls the Orwellian Room 101; the fears and phobias that sometimes come to us as nightmares in our sleep. The fear of walking in the woods, the hidden dangers that lurk under water in the deep...
  • Britta Böhler
    The writing is beautiful (despite some silly statements like "Old people are a species of their own" that are scattered throughout the book), and atmospheric. But unfortunately, the story didnt work for me at all. (view spoiler)[Admittedly, it was a page turning read, mainly due to the suspense novel-structure with time jumps, shifting perspectives and many (many!) cliffhangers ("and then she told me"), after which - in old fashioned Patterson-st...
  • Roman Clodia
    Once upon a time, it was rare to find literary re-workings of classical myth and fairy tales: now they’re everywhere. This book uses a skeleton of both ((view spoiler)[Oedipus, Hansel and Gretel (hide spoiler)]) upon which to hang a story of broken families and searches for home. The problem for me, and I’m putting this in spoiler tags for anyone who hasn’t yet read this book, is that the premise of the myth just doesn’t stand up in a mod...
  • Lee Monks
    (3.5) Much to like here, and a fine debut novel by any yardstick. The story was always compelling, and the retelling (or retooling) was interesting. But Everything Under wasn't for me entirely convincing, and often seemed over-attenuated, over-fussy (on that note: why do writers use 'I was not' and 'I did not' so much, as opposed to 'I wasn't' and 'I didn't'? Is it 'more literary' to do so?). That said, you could see this winning the prize (it fe...
  • Chris Haak
    Definitely a candidate for the Booker this year. I absolutely love this novel! Very impressive, heartfelt and with a big ‘wow’ factor.
  • MisterHobgoblin
    Everything Under is a transposition of an ancient Greek legend into modern-day England. I did not know which legend when I read the novel which allowed a slow dawning to take place. Other reviewers have named the legend and I cannot help feeling that knowing where things are heading would make the reading both simpler and less satisfying, Therefore, I will skirt around much of the plot.Having said that knowing the direction of travel would make t...
  • Kiran Hargrave
    Johnson's is a voice that haunts, and EVERYTHING UNDER seeped through to my bones. Reaching new depths hinted at in FEN, language and landscape turn strange, full of creeping horror and beauty. It is precise in its terror, and its tenderness. An ancient myth skillfully remade for our uncertain times.
  • Bookish Chat
    I was cheeky with this one kids. I asked the lovely folk at Vintage if I could perhaps pretty please have a copy for review and being the total doll faces that they are lo and behold it arrived.I bumped it right to the top of my TBR and the rest is history. This is the kind of book that I wish every one of my bookish pals were reading at the same time as me so that I at least had people to talk to about it as I was reading. I was bursting with th...
  • Lady R
    There is no doubt that Daisy Johnson can write - she has an amazing way with words & some sentences I just read & re-read or read aloud.... beautiful.Ultimately sadly this book was not for me.The shifting timeframes, characters & narrative became too muddled in a book that was already asking me to suspend belief too many times.It’s a very powerful & unsettling read that covers huge topics about family, loss, gender & fate & I can see this will ...
  • Alan
    A remarkable, shape-shifting, challenging novel. In my mission to get through this year’s Man Booker longlist Daisy Johnson’s re-working of the Oedipus myth is my first of this year’s crop, and it’s a very promising start.This is not an easy novel, let’s be clear. It challenges you to make connections, to understand the time-shifts as the narrative flows back and forward through time. Indeed, the metaphor of flowing is apt, as water –...
  • Callum Philbin
    Elusive. Beautiful surreal writing that remains elusive throughout in terms of both plot and meaning. The book twists and turns, reveals plenty before concealing more and just when you think that you finally understand it all, Johnson flips the whole strange world on its head. The story revolves around the narrator Gretel who is looking for her Mother, Sarah, who abandoned her when she was 16 years old. She now works in Oxford updating dictionary...
  • Benjamin Appleby-Dean
    There's a tragedy at the heart of this book, for certain - an old cruel story reimagined and made fluid. But most of this extraordinary novel isn't about the tragedy itself but about what surrounds it - the lives of the people who came before and the wreckage that remained afterwards, attempts to rebuild and a slow slide into despair.The central relationship is betweeen a now-adult daughter and her elderly mother, trying to manage dementia and me...
  • James Orton
    An incredible debut novel from Daisy Johnson, author of the eerily atmospheric collection of short stories, ‘Fen’.
  • miss.mesmerized mesmerized
    Gretel does not grow up like other kids do. Her mother is different, they live on a boat, stop here and there and they even invent their own language. After the mother’s sudden disappearance, Gretel is left on her own devices and has to find a place in the world. The early fascination for words quite naturally makes her a lexicographer, a very lonesome job in which she updates dictionary entries. Even though she hadn’t been in contact with he...
  • Sonja
    Ich finde es sehr schwierig, dieses Buch zu rezensieren, das mich einerseits fasziniert, andererseits aber auch enorm gefrustet hat."Everything Under" soll in erster Linie eine Neuerzählung der Ödipusgeschichte sein, verwebt aber deutlich mehr Mythen und Märchen und steckt voller Andeutungen.Allem liegt die Frage zugrunde: Warum hat Sarah ihre Tochter im Alter von 16 Jahren verlassen?Diesem Geheimnis geht Gretel auf die Spur, als sie versucht,...
  • Adam
    Oedipus reimagined in the mulch and moss of canals. Queasy, atmospheric, disorientating, scary, filmic, deft and beautiful language...both confuses yet engages the reader! Johnson is a sophisticated and rare talent- what I mean to say is, hers is a voice that is here to stay.
  • Selen Isyar
    Quite a dark read however interesting with its detailed atmosphere and layers of different stories.
  • Caroline Middleton
    This year’s Elmet of the Man Booker Prize - gorgeously exacting language that nevertheless manages to leave a bland aftertaste.