“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Nobody Move, This Is A Review: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Once upon a time there was a young boy who was fascinated with fairy tales, myths and legends (once upon a time, most young boys were). This young boy grew up to become the writer of best-selling novels that blend crime fiction and supernatural horror, whose most affecting novel to date has been The Book of Lost Things. Set in the early years of WWII, its hero – very much in the classical sense – is David, a 12-year-old boy mourning the death of his mother who, on the night of a German bombing raid, somehow slips sidewards into a parallel universe teeming with characters from the worlds of mediaeval folktale, Greek myth and Romantic legend, and not a few monsters dragged up from the pit of the Freudian abyss. If Andrew Lang had written a novel, it would very probably have resembled The Book of Lost Things: told in the form of a quest, the story also functions as a commentary on and deconstruction of myth and fable, subtly exploring the reasons why such story archetypes have remained so important to the human race. In David can be found race memories of Gawain and Jason and all the wandering princes of folklore, in particular – to this reader’s mind – the hunted hero of I Am David, Anne Holm’s classic children’s novel of WWII. The deceptively simple prose allows Connolly to convincingly inhabit his thoughtful young hero’s mind and mimic the direct thought processes of an intelligent and questioning mind on the threshold of maturity and only now beginning to engage with adult issues such as betrayal, compromise, love and death. The result is a modern classic, and the novel that will probably prove Connolly’s enduring legacy.- Declan Burke

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