Now I know

Summaries from Reviews:

A 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.

'Now 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 […]

Now 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.

'I 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.

'It 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.

A note about The Dance Sequence - click here.


Buy On-line

First published by Bodley Head 1987

Definitions paperback (with The Toll Bridge), January 2007,

ISBN 978-1-862-30287-7, £6.99

All contents are ©Aidan Chambers unless otherwise stated.


Sixteen 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 naοve 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 desire.'


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