“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.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rather More Than A Quantum Of SOLACE

Can it really be 18 months since Siobhan Dowd (right) died? The much-lamented Siobhan, author of A SWIFT PURE CRY, THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY and BOG CHILD, has her last novel published by David Fickling Books, SOLACE OF THE ROAD, with the blurb elves twittering thusly:
Memories of Mum are the only thing that make Holly Hogan happy. She hates her foster family with their too-nice ways and their false sympathy. And she hates her life, her stupid school and the way everyone is always on at her. Then she finds the wig, and everything changes. Wearing the long, flowing blonde locks she feels transformed. She’s not Holly any more, she’s Solace: the girl with the slinkster walk and the super-sharp talk. She’s older, more confident - the kind of girl who can walk right out of her humdrum life, hitch to Ireland and find her mum. The kind of girl who can face the world head on. So begins a bittersweet, and sometimes hilarious journey as Solace swaggers and Holly tiptoes across England and through memory, discovering her true self, and unlocking the secrets of her past. SOLACE OF THE ROAD is a wonderful novel from one of the UK’s most talented new writers for teenagers. Holly’s story will leave a lasting impression on all who travel with her.
  Given that Siobhan was born in London to Irish parents, and spent quite a bit of her childhood flitting back and forth across the Irish Sea, it’s hard not to expect SOLACE OF THE ROAD to be the teensiest bit autobiographical, and all the more poignant for that. Go n-eírí an bóthar leat, Holly and Siobhan …