My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I admire books like this. No, I think, I admire writers and writing like this. I admire writing that is so resolutely of itself, so careful and crisps and precise and acute and heartfelt with every step it takes. I admire writing like this because it is so conscious of the space in between the words – the pauses – the breaths. Poetry is about breathing, really, at its heart (and what a pounding, emotional, life-filled heart this book holds) and this book is so very full of heart.
‘One’ is a book about love. It is a book about being both one and other; the story of conjoined twins Tippi and Grace. Friends. Sisters. A part of each other, a whole split into two and one and two and one. And Tippi and Grace must go to school.
Crossan’s style (and for those of who you haven’t experienced her work before, do look at ‘Apple and Rain’ and ‘The Weight of Water’) is such an effortless thing. I’m sure it’s not though. I’m sure that words like this, so fine and careful and clear and sharp as glass, take time to find and I applaud the skill of doing so. The chapters are, as a whole, short and intensely reader-friendly as a result. They also remind me of a question I was asked a long time ago at my university: “When you read a book, do you read the black ink or the white space around the ink?”. I’ve thought about that a lot since. It has, in a way, informed everything I think on literature and how I write personally. It is a quote with a curious applicability to this novel. You read ‘One’ and it is a book about the space in between the words and around them, as much as it is about them. Crossan is so very good at what she’s doing here. So good.
One is due out on 27th August 2015. Save the date. Read her others beforehand. Have I mentioned recently about how good we have children’s / young adult literature right now?