Review – Only Forward

Cover of Only Forward by Michael Marshall SmithOnly Forward, Michael Marshall Smith
Review from April 23rd, 2013

Oh — my — god. When I started reading this book I expected it to keep up the fairly light tone of the early chapters. Then it fucked with my heart bad. Don’t believe reviews saying it makes no sense: it makes perfect sense, in the end, as long as you stop holding onto normal logic and start applying some dream logic. The narrator is unreliable, yeah, and he has attitude, and he knows he’s telling a story, so there are bits that some people find irritating, like the way he keeps saying he’ll tell us more about [whatever] later, if it’s relevant. And I can understand that, but for me it’s all part of who the narrator is.

I love the world built up here. The different neighbourhoods, the cats, the whys and wherefores of The City. I love the writing, because so much of it is painfully on the nose about trauma, about the demons we’re capable of dreaming up. I love all of this more than I love the characters, really: I love it for what it has to say about trauma, about the way we think.

It’s hard to talk about it without any spoilers, really. All I can say is that it comes together in the end, and you understand things in a heartbreaking rush, and it really is good. Weird, yes. But very good.

Rating: 5/5

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5 thoughts on “Review – Only Forward

  1. I read 3 other books by Marshall and everything you described fits in those books too. He’s great at constructing thrilling, weird plots but also is pretty good at handling emotions and characters. It’s when I read Straw Men that I cast off thrillers. I hope to find more authors like him who write more than mere potboilers.

  2. He’s one of my favourite SF writers. I am not quite as taken with his serial killer thrillers (under the Michael Marshall name) as I am with his earlier SF (as Michael Marshall Smith), but I do remember how his books just grab you and charme you with wit and crush you with the events inside. I still remember how heartbreaking Spares was, ten years after reading it…

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