Everything You Need

everythingNathan Staples is comsumed by loathing and love in equal measures.He is sustained only by his passionate devotion to his estranged wife, Maura, and their teenage daughter, Mary – whom he hasn’t seen in fifteen years, and who thinks he’s dead. When Nathan contrives to have Mary invited to the island where he lives in retreat, he sets in motion the possibility of telling her that he is her father, and becoming complete again.

The path to grace, however, is strewn with obstacles. The obsesive island dwellers are trying to sure themselves through trial by extremity, while in London, Nathan’s editor, only friend and one link with his literary career, is drinking himself into the ground. And Mary is torn between familial love for the two uncles who brought her up in loco parentis, and the beginnings of a romantic, sexual life beyond.

US and Dutch (“Alles Wat Je Nodig Hebt”) editions were published in 2001.

Reviews

Good:

“Her expanded social canvas extends from beautifully observed literary London to the UK’s island margins. With this book she arrives in the front rank of contemporary British novelists. A Booker contender.”
Publishing News

ALK: Ha, ha, ha

“…she may not always be kind, but her fiction is consistently honest and real and compulsively readable.”
The Observer

“Despite its length, every few pages boasts at least one line you could kick yourself for not having thought of first. You will also find Kennedy’s thoughts on writing as well as some well-aimed shots at the publishing industry through Jack, Nathan’s long-time editor and only true friend. Very long, but very rewarding.”
Sunday Herald

“It is A.L.Kennedy’s unconventional use of language and her animated way of turning sober detail into something exotic that makes this book such a joy to read.
Metro, London

“Its rare achievement is not that it grips from first to last, but that it does so by telling the truth.”
Lawrence Norfolk – The Times

Bad:

“She has won the licence to do pretty much as she please and it shows.”
Eileen Battersby – Irish Times

ALK: If this were true aboutany area of my life, believe me, I’d be so happy, I’d buy shares in the Irish Times.

“Kennedy’s sprawling and harshly seedy saga creaks along for more than 500 pages, without every proving sympathetic or even particularly interesting.”
Eileen Battersby – Irish Times

Silly:

“If it is possible to love and loathe a novel at the same time, then Everything you need seems to produce such a paradoxical response.”
Nuala McCann – Irish News

“‘Our words are our right, but they’re also our privilege,’ Nathan says. Or, in the case of Kennedy, something approaching a sacrament.”
Toronto Globe and Mail

“English literature does sometimes have an audience for this kind of thing…”
Jenny Turner – Yorkshire Post

“…demanded an unflinching gaze that left the schlock-horror of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal far behind.”
Alex Clark – The Guardian

Ignore most of the plot…”
The Scotsman

“In what sense can such a memory be ‘slick’?”
David Craig – LRB

ALK: Man doesn’t get out much, does he ?

“By the time three years have passed, she hasn’t even walked as far as the Head, which is the chief landmark.”

ALK: But he doesn’t stay in reading, because this is, in two respects, factually incorrect.

“She has the richest pornographic empathy of any writer working today…”
Candia MacWilliam – Caledonia

“Nathan has a dog whose name, to my regret, is Eckless. So I waited, miserably, for the missing F or R…”
Candia MacWilliam – Caledonia

ALK: And, to my regret, she missed the explanation of the missing consonant on page 156. The moral of the story is – don’t write a long book, no one will read it.