This Groundbreaking Novel Is A Total Headf*ck

Solar Bones is a novel unlike any other.

Woman reading a book
Downtime The book of 2016 is unlike any other. Image Getty

Chances are you haven’t heard of Mike McCormack’s novel Solar Bones yet.

Released sixth months ago, it’s barely had time to seep into the public consciousness. And by that we mean being read by every single person on public transport (Gone Girl, Girl on the Train et al).

The novel takes place on All Souls Day in November 2008, following a middle-aged engineer called Marcus Conway who is brought back from the dead.

What makes McCormack’s story different, however, is the fact that it’s told in a single unbroken sentence.

A prose game-changer, Solar Bones has been awarded the Goldsmiths Prize for 2016 and earned McCormack a £10,000 prize.

Solar Bones book cover
Solar Bones Mike McCormack's award-winning novel. Image Tramp Press

Chairman of judges Professor Blake Morrison told the BBC: “Set over a few hours in a single day, and told in the first-person voice of a middle-aged engineer, Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones transcends these seeming limits magnificently.

“Politics, family, art, marriage, health, civic duty and the environment are just a few of the themes it touches on, in a prose that’s lyrical yet firmly rooted.

“Its subject may be an ordinary working life but it is itself an extraordinary work.”

A creative risk doesn’t always pay off, so it’s good to see McCormack getting rewarded for trying something different.

Other notable experimental novels include Irvine Welsh’s Filth, which includes contributions from a tapeworm superimposed over the text, and BS Johnson’s The Unfortunates, published in a box of unbound chapters with no order specified.

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn