If I Never. Three words I believe many of us have uttered to ourselves at some stage during our lives. I imagine the main character Price says this to himself quite regularly, possibly even more than once a day, and once you have read the book you will not hold this against him and you will understand why these three words have a permanent abode in his mind.
Price is a likeable character, even though throughout the novel you will be screaming at him to make the opposite decisions to those which he continuously feels drawn to making. He has anosmia, which means he cannot smell. Missing his sense of smell does not hinder him per se; although sometimes you get the feeling it is a metaphor for him missing something in his life. Anosmia does have its positives though, the horrid smells that drift around do not permeate his nostrils, Price adds chilli to his meals to compensate for not smelling the food’s aroma and he can stand drinking cheap whiskey, the petrol smell of the lesser brands doesn’t dissuade him from drinking it.
The beginning of the book sees Price living alone, jobless and single. Early on he finds a job, or more to the point his father throws him into it, and he finds a girl. This is where the story really begins. We go on a journey with Price, we see how he participates in different relationships, with his parents, with Tara, with Tara’s mum, with George (and the many people he brings along with him), with a work colleague and his wife and with Price himself.
Tara is Price’s girl and they are perfectly matched – this becomes obvious as the story progresses. Tara is George’s cousin. George is Price’s “friend”. George is a bully and has bullied Price since the dawn of time; he has just always been able to tell Price what to do and Price has fallen into the unfortunate cycle of doing what George tells him. Due to George’s ability to stand over his friend Price and Tara become intricately entwined in George’s shenanigans and we go on a wild ride involving, amongst other things, kidnapping, murder and drugs. Poor Price finds himself in some very tight situations.
Along the way Price has to make some moral decisions, these seem to occupy his mind and they overlap, he’s not just thinking about one thing, he’s thinking about a few at the same time. We see into Price’s mind and are able to follow the process in which he comes to the conclusions he does and therefore I felt connected to Price. I could go into the details more but then I’d have to kill you…….joking. I don’t want to give anything away so you will just have to read it yourself.
If I Never is Gary Murning’s debut novel and I must say it is an exceptional work of art. It is a well-written novel. In my interview with Gary he expressed how all rules of writing were not adhered to, some of them needed to be broken to make this book what it is and I must say this was a great path to take, it definitely adds to the reader’s experience. If I Never is a page turner and especially the last quarter of the book I did not want to put it down, I just wanted to find out where we were going to end up next. I thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience and I will be keeping my eye out for future works by Gary.
I was lucky enough to win If I Never through a Goodreads first reads giveaway competition. I was doubly lucky to be able to interview Gary. I would like to say a big thank you to Gary for providing me with a very entertaining read and an engrossing interview. Thank you, Gary.
To read my interview with Gary please click here
To visit Gary at his blog please click here