Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities to write and read about, so I was a happy bunny when this book popped through my letter box. Set in the centre of the city, in a landscape familiar with Irvine Welsh, Nothing Is Heavy begins on Junction Street. Here, Beth is working late at night in a chip shop, while Amber dances round a pole in a bar across the street. Meanwhile, George is dressed up in a monkey suit on a night out and decides to get himself some chips. Then someone dies, and that someone was connected with a drug deal that was going to make a lot of money. Cue Amber and Beth meeting, running away with a bag of cash in a chip van. Throughout the novel, more stories are revealed and the characters begin to admit and to realise things about themselves that had been hidden before.
The book, at 252 pages, largely takes place over that one night. The narrator takes turns in looking at events from Beth, Amber, and George's points of view. The result is a novel that is multilayered quite quickly, but given that the lives of the characters connect and interact, this doesn't become confusing. Towards the end, there is an unexpected shift into first person that I initially wasn't sure about, but each character gets a turn and it does provide a kind of closure. As endings go, this one was very sweet, and quite sentimental. I don't read enough books that end like this (so used, and so happy, with stories that end with sadness, or with threads that don't tie up), but I think for a novel that is so everywhere with so many lives overlapping, it's interesting to see them come together neatly eventually.
Nothing Is Heavy was brilliant fun to read. It was funny one paragraph, then thoughtful, sad one chapter, ridiculous the next. A fast-paced novel, with moments of clever writing, I'm excited by this debut novel. I put the book down last night with a smile on my face, and I liked that. Not often do I get such a feeling a peace from a novel, and nor did I expect one from a story so bizarre. Realistic and likeable characters, a great setting, a crazy plot; Jarrett has offered a very enjoyable read.