Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

Genre: magical realism. ⭐️Stars from Goodreads: 3.9. ⭐️Stars from me: 5.

Sometimes the word “a book” does not describe a creation well enough. All books are different but some books are just more than books. Apart from telling you a story, they bring a whole new world along with them. I don’t mean a world like the one with Tolkien’s hobbits, lands and languages. It doesn’t have to be that gigantic. But when you read it you start being aware of something that hasn’t been there before.

Everything Under is this kind of book. In no way is it just another story. In fact, the story itself is quite transparent. You can easily guess what’s going on if you read carefully (or if you google the book and get a major spoiler in the first lines of the description. Don’t google the book!)

Everything Under is a story about a river, a mother, a daughter. It has fantasies that merge into lives and become a reality.

The main treasure of the book is its language. It’s been a lifetime since I saw something so beautifully, intricately written. You can take a sentence and watch it as a separate piece of art. I read some of the phrases aloud several times just to see how beautifully they unfold.

If there were prizes for the best magic performed with words Daisy Johnson would be the winner. She doesn’t just give you descriptions. She lays out words that you don’t expect to see but then you watch them grow into a perfect construction conveying exactly what the author meant. When it’s getting late and the characters are near the river, the author doesn’t just say “it was getting dark”. She says: “The water had lost its colour

The water had lost its colour… Precise and perfect.

I’ve marked a lot of phrases in the book. I go through them like through a gallery of beautiful paintings. There’s a whole collection now taken from one short book.

Everything Under will not be beautiful for everybody. You’ll have to savour the lines to see what they mean and how they unravel. Also, some moments in the book will make you cringe, although even my prude self shut up this time to let me enjoy the book. But if you like watching the beauty of the words put perfectly together, and you are looking for something special for your literary senses this book is for you.