N Quentin Woolf’s The Death of the Poet follows two stories: the first of a radio DJ who suffers domestic abuse at the hands of his partner; and the second is the life of a literary editor who survived World War One.
As in life, a lot of what happens in the book seems incidental. You follow the DJ, John Knox, on his journey and there are many side shows, but as in our own day-to-day not many of them stick around forever. His work, his ex, his family, and his friendships, are all at one time prominent, but then can disappear altogether.
It’s a fiction that is told so raw that it could be the recounting of a life on an early deathbed. Throughout the course of the book you’re thrown about in time. You are taken from the day to day, to year to year, and century to century, and Woolf makes this work brilliantly.
A lesser writer would lose you around 1950, but Woolf helps you to keep up and makes this epic book a true page turner that will have you up until all hours as you try to fulfil your need for this book. As the pages unravelled before me, they didn’t reveal a twist or surprise too soon to shatter the all entrancing quality of the writing.
Nothing shocked me because mostly life isn’t shocking but rather devastatingly inevitable, but nothing that happened was expected.
The Death of the Poet is part old classic and part contemporary masterpiece. It is a book that your children will be able to talk to their grandchild about reading in the years to come.