body is found hanging from a crane in a scrap yard. The police
are called. A young detective, Tom, sets out to investigate
this bizarre case. Nik Frome researches a film about a contemporary
life of Jesus. He needs to imagine what might happen if Jesus
were to return to earth today. In turn, he sets out to investigate
the bizarre nature of belief. Then Nik meets Julie, a girl whose
belief in a Christian God is so strong she has no doubts about
the rules by which she lives. They embark on an unusual love
affair, one which takes them beyond mutual attraction.
I Know is the story of an exploration of Christian belief
by a "clever, curious and uncommitted" seventeen-year-old called
Nik, bullied by his history teacher into doing the research
for an amateur film project about the Second Coming. In the
course of his aloof observations he meets and falls in love
with a nineteen-year-old Christian feminist called Julie. This,
naturally enough, makes his purpose more personal, and a matter
of life and death when, on the morning after she has thoughtfully
rejected his sexual advance, Nik sees her injured in a blast
of a terrorist bomb. His response leads him swiftly to a bizarre
experiment in self-induced mystical experience […]
I Know contains no evangelism, nor any evangelical characters.
Julie herself identifies the urge to convert as a selfish one,
and an easy temptation. […] The conclusions at which Nik arrives,
however, through his own style of self-abasement, are unpredictable,
unorthodox and entirely public. He drops his own bombshell and
escapes, reshaped but intact, changed but unconverted.' Colin
Greenland in Times Literary Supplement.
commend it to all adventurous readers as a journey, with many
surprises, into themselves. […] The narrative is composed of
scribbles in notebooks, film script snatches. There are letters
transcribed from Julie's hospital tapes, parallel texts […]
Here we see the author recognising what others so frequently
hint at yet fail to name: that in youth we have, at least once,
to face what we fear, in both the outside and the inside of
our lives, and the words for these experiences have little continuity.'
Margaret Meek in School Librarian.
is a remarkably perceptive, compassionate novel about adolescent
search for inner certainty in a shifting, shifty world. […]
Chambers does not make things easy for his reader, with his
shifting perspectives, his literary gobbets, his teenage slang,
but the reader who perseveres will find this a timely and a
very moving book.' Ralph Elliott in The Canberra Times.
note about The Dance Sequence - click
published by Bodley Head 1987
paperback (with The Toll Bridge), January 2007,
contents are ©Aidan Chambers unless otherwise stated.
year old Charlotte Richardson, who studied Now I Know
for her GCSE coursework, wrote in her essay, the full text of
which is in READERS WRITE:
'I must admit that I thought the book may be aimed at converting
me to strict Christianity, but I couldn't be further from the
truth. As I found out after reading the extraordinary first
page, with its fabulous description of a young boy's realisation
of death - a subject which everyone knows is around but no one
wants to embrace. The beginning wasn't the only good part of
the book. Every turn of the page was like advancing into this
world of Doubt versus Belief, Love versus Friendship.
'The theme of the book I most wish to discuss is the exploration
of what faith really is while looking through the eyes of two
young and ultimately naïve learners. It dwells on the dramatic
clash between belief and rational, logical thoughts, while tracking
other well-known teenage urges in the midst of this manic effort
to understand how our world works. Mr Chambers' unique style
of writing brings out the truth through the use of his previous
knowledge, through other people's opinions through quotations,
and through the use of an ordinary teenager's view of life.
I haven't read many teenage novels as I find some of them tedious
and not worth reading. But this novel captured the essence of
true, good quality writing, while still effectively tackling
the topic of faith in a mature and understanding manner. Aidan's
book contains no evangelism. He simply portrays his ideas in
a unique way and allows the reader to delve deeper if they so