Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett

Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett

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From the author of the “dazzling. . . . and daring” Pond (Omagazine), the adventures of a young woman discovering her own genius, through the people she meets–and dreams up–along the way.

In a working-class town in a county west of London, a schoolgirl scribbles stories in the back pages of her exercise book, intoxicated by the first sparks of her imagination.  As she grows, everything and everyone she encounters become fuel for a burning talent. The large Russian man in the ancient maroon car who careens around the grocery store where she works as a checkout clerk, and slips her a copy of
Beyond Good and Evil. The growing heaps of other books in which she loses–and finds–herself. Even the derailing of a friendship, in a devastating violation. The thrill of learning to conjure characters and scenarios in her head is matched by the exhilaration of forging her own way in the world, the two kinds of ingenuity kindling to a brilliant conflagration.

Exceeding the extraordinary promise of Bennett’s mold-shattering debut,
Checkout 19 is a radical affirmation of the power of the imagination and the magic escape those who master it open to us all.


“Bennett writes like no one else. She is a rare talent, and Checkout 19 is a masterful novel.” –Karl Ove Knausgaard

“Singular. . . The prized darkness at the center of the human mind, the place where whatever is really real about us resides, is what Checkout 19 dedicates itself to protecting.” —The New Yorker
“Wildly imaginative, unabashedly odd and mordantly funny . . . . This book-full-of-books is a gift and proof of a rare talent. . . . a volume to be consumed whole, on one long, strange trip. . . . [in which] the deep magic of writing is revealed.” —
Los Angeles Times

“The wonder of childhood reading, the undiluted absorption and imaginative engagement, the capacity to fall madly in love with fictional characters and to fantasize oneself into their worlds—these are the qualities Ms. Bennett wants to celebrate and preserve.” —Wall Street Journal

Publisher: Riverhead Books
ISBN: 978-0593420508
Pages:  288