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The Crack Magazine


Checkout 19 by Claire Bennett

You know the kind of book I mean. The kind of book published in hardback that you’ve decided you won’t buy until it’s published in paperback. That kind of book. That sits there in the bookshop in all its arrogant, hardbackness. Constantly wheedling. Go on just pay that extra. You know you want to. You know you want me. And you ignore spine contact every time you enter the bookshop. You can feel its hot look, but ignore it for months and months as the paperback publishing date comes ever closer and closer. Then it appears. In a small stack. Apologetically. Humble. Pleading. Here I am…if you want me. I know you couldn’t afford the hardback. Can you afford me now? I’m just a paperback that needs a home, and so much cheaper than my hardback relative. Go on, you know you want to. I’m smaller, lighter, less arrogant. You can see that. And you do, you really do, so you buy the paperback. Take it home. Wonder whether it can live up to the hype of the hardback reviews, the best lines of which have been quoted on the opening pages of the paperback and on the front and back cover. Inevitably it feels disappointing. And yet, gradually, works its way in. Not in the way the critics have said. In another way entirely. Slowly. Cryptically. Inevitably. Automatically accompanying you to the shops, your place of work, when you go to bed. And still trembling when the final page flicks past. Reverberating. Informing. Inspiring. Much like Claire-Louise Bennett’s Checkout 19.

Checkout 19 – Claire-Louise Bennett – publ. Vintage - £9.99

Steven Long

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