CB Editions (2016)
PP. 146
RRP £8.99

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The Inevitable Gift Shop

Shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2016
Poetry Book Society Special Commendation

Subtitled ‘A memoir by other means’, The Inevitable Gift Shop lassoes consciousness, memory, desire, literature, illness, flora and fauna, problems with tortoises and cable ties, and brings them back home in double file, as prose and poetry. ‘This is now, or as good as. / We should welcome it. / There should be hats.’

“It takes itself apart and puts itself back together again as it goes along like a literary Transformer, morphing from prose to poetry, literary criticism to history, every new shape a brilliant incarnation.”
– Ian Duhig

“It’s like a conversation with an extraordinarily wise friend: surprising, tender, funny and profound.”
     – Michelle de Kretser

“Penetratingly clever and often quite moving and extremely charming, border-crossing uncategorisable writing . . . there’s something holistic about it, in the way it enacts the absolute continuity between inner and outer life, what we feel what we think what we do.”
     – Patrick McGuinness

‘Heartbreaking and hilarious.’
     – Ian Sansom

“If there were rules to writing – which there aren’t, probably – this book is rewriting them . . . Eaves is cutting an entirely new path, machete in hand, through bush, briar and jungle into uncharted artistic territory . . . It’s a book that demands to be read and re-read – and then re-read again; both front to back, back to front, and in all other manner of combinations.”

The Absent Therapist, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize, was a fragmentary novel of many voices. Here, Eaves has produced a work of even more disparate and uncategorisable form. There are chunks of prose memoir (his grandmother’s dentures), criticism (why E. M. Forster was wrong about Mr Micawber), observation (everything from the profusion of cable ties in packaging to the threat of artificial intelligence) and one-line statements: ‘I eat fish with a clear conscience because they neglect their young’) alongside beguiling poems that touch on memory and childhood.”
     – New Statesman

“ . . . The Inevitable Gift Shop is a mixture of autobiographical anecdotes, poetry, micro-narratives, literary criticism and philosophical musings. In grouping these styles of writing within distinct sections, the book takes on a remarkable fluidity where different parts comment upon each other and a deeper, more complex understanding of a whole life is imaginatively constructed. 
   The title is a reference to a guide’s remark of a tourist site in Iceland that there is an inevitable gift shop. For me, this image took on significance throughout suggesting that parts of our lives are parcelled up and offered up, but they serve only as imitations of the real thing . . . an absolutely fascinating, cerebral and original book that raised so many questions for me – not just about the content of what I was reading but how I was reading it.’