Welcome, Knife of Never Letting Go Reading Buddies! How are you enjoying the book so far?
I’ll admit, I actually wrote most of this post a week ago, when I got to the end of Part IV. I wanted so badly to tear through to the end of the book, but I knew that if I did, I wouldn’t be able to remember what had happened and which things had been revealed at what point. So I made myself stop and write out my thoughts up to that point. The Knife of Never Letting Go is, I think, one of those books where once you know something, you can’t go back to unknowing it. I have now finished the book, so have no fear about including later spoilers in your comments (just warn about them for anyone who hasn’t finished, please!). This post, however, will focus on Parts I-IV.
Initially I had trouble reading The Knife of Never Letting Go. Todd’s particular way of speaking and the way his narration is written out seemed awkward, and I had to slow down a bit. Once I got used to it, though, I found myself whizzing right along. I especially like the font used for Noise; it seems to fit perfectly.
As I began to understand what Noise was and what a world full of it was like, I thought of our modern world and how it’s sometimes so difficult to avoid our own particular type of Noise: email, Twitter, television, Facebook, etc. Everyone’s thoughts are flying every which way all the time. Turns out that’s what Patrick Ness was thinking too when he wrote The Knife of Never Letting Go. As I was flipping through the book after reading a few chapters, I came across Patrick Ness’s bio on the back cover. He has this to say about the book’s premise:
“Information is absolutely everywhere today–texts and e-mails and messaging–so much it feels like you can’t get away from it. I began to wonder what it would be like to be in a town where you really couldn’t get away. How could you keep hold of who you are? What price would you be willing to pay to save yourself?”
I’m enjoying seeing how his characters struggle with different situations Noise puts them in. For instance, I’m interested by how Todd perceives Viola’s silence. In chapter 10 (p. 102 in my paperback version), Todd says:
“Say you were standing on a hilltop with someone who had no Noise. Would it be like you were alone there? How would you share it? Would you want to? I mean, here we are, the girl and I, heading outta danger and into the unknown and there’s no Noise overlapping us, nothing to tell us what the other’s thinking. Is that how it’s sposed to be?”
As I read, I took a moment to think about Todd’s questions. It was intriguing to consider our own way of being in a new light.
Later on, in chapter 22 (p. 242 in my copy), Todd thinks about lying. In his world, truth and lies float around together in men’s Noise so that no one can tell them apart. Everyone lies, so no one really worries about it. But with someone like Viola, who has no Noise, that ability to see truth and lies mixing is gone. Someone interacting with her can only go by her words; there’s no clues as to what’s true and what’s not. I found that concept fascinating to consider as well.
I think my favorite character so far is Manchee. Every time he barks something, I think of Doug from the movie Up. I’ve assigned that same kind of dense loyalty that Doug displays to Manchee, and the effect is quite endearing. My least favorite, on the other hand, is absolutely Aaron. He’s terrifying, and I get the sense he’s not just a regular man. There’s something scary and sinister going on with him. I’m not sure I want to know what it is…I just want him to go away.
What’s stood out for you in the book so far? Do you have favorite (or least favorite) characters or ideas?