Joe Meno – The Great Perhaps

This is a quirky and wonderful novel about family life and all the craziness that comes with it. The father, Jonathan, a palaeontologist who passes out when he sees clouds, is struggling to find a giant deep-sea squid and with it his place in the scientific community. His wife Madeline, a behaviourist, who is studying pigeons, is following a man-shaped cloud in her car. Also, Jonathan and Madeline might possibly be separating. Their teenage daughters, the revolutionary Amelia and the obsessively religious Thisbe (who’s is trying to keep everyone alive by praying), are meanwhile busy building pipe bombs, baptising stray animals, falling in love and fighting capitalism. Lastly, their grandfather, Henry, is trying to disappear, from his retirement home and possibly this earth and:

“…what follows is both astonishing and quite ordinary.”

What’s linking these isolated characters is, that they all are dealing with different forms of fear. And so all the uncertainty, the pains of growing up, of making an impact and finally growing old and saying goodbye, each of these phases entails demons but also beauty. “It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful because it’s complicated. Because there is not one thing. There’s not one thing that makes sense of everything.” This was suggested to me by Aidan.


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