Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Book Review: With a Zero at its Heart by Charles Lambert

With a Zero at its Heart
By Charles Lambert
Published by The Friday Project
Paperback/ebook

The search for the 'book of the year' is over.

The winner is Charles Lambert's latest book, With a Zero at its Heart. This book should win the Booker Prize. It is an engaging, thought-provoking book with an innovative structure.

Lambert explores the way memories fragment and form a life story within 24 themed chapters, each with 10 numbered paragraphs, each paragraph 120 words long. These poetic chunks make up the life of the narrator, unnamed, from childhood to present day. This is a life broken down and re-pieced together in themes.

This book is not about numbers or being crafty with the structure. With a Zero as its Heart is not a gimmick. Lambert has created a book full of passion and full of life. This is my type of book because it doesn't look down on the reader. Lambert hands over the reins to the reader for them to piece together the overall narrative.

Each chapter tackles a major theme - death, money, the body and art. The reader starts of with the earliest memory right up to the present day of the narrator's life for each section. My favourite chapters are death and home as these sections are beautifully observed. The observations of life are elegant and full of emotion - from the heart breaking to tender, to funny in a matter of pages.

This book has been written to be flexible - you can either read it from cover to cover (which I would recommend for the first time reader) or you can dip into the chapters and read them out of order. You could always read the paragraphs individually, dipping in and out. This book is built for every lifestyle - a quick paragraph while you wait for the veg to boil or a whole chapter while you skin wrinkles in the bath.

With a Zero at its Heart is a fantastic book and it deserves to be read by as many people as possible. Not just once but several times.

You can buy a copy (and you must buy this book because it's brilliant) from your favourite bookshop.


The publisher kindly sent me a copy.

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