Sunday, June 23, 2013

"A Monster Calls" A novel by Patrick Ness (with illustrations by Jim Kay)

When the monster called after midnight it was completely unexpected. As unexpected in fact as the appearance of this extraordinary children's novel by Patrick Ness on the bookshelves. Based on an original idea by Siobhan Dowd and with the help of the truly magnificent expressionistic illustrations of Jim Kay, Patrick Ness has managed to create a book that is both frightening and emotionally charged. He adeptly balances different genres of traditional storytelling with difficult subjects and concepts such as childhood, truth, dealing with serious sickness and loss, pain, guilt, confronting and eventually overcoming your worst nightmares and fears by finally finding that inner strength which makes the difference in times of trouble and adversity. 

This is a powerful and exceptional book that will equally touch children and adults. When you read it as an adult, you re-establish the connection with that atrophied part of yourself, that lost forgotten time when you were a child and the world was very much defined by the power of your imagination. It re-awakens memories that made you stay up at night when all the grown-ups were fast asleep. Memories that had to do with your struggle to understand the adult world that you found yourself in. A world that was so unimaginatively lucid when compared with the world that you knew and understood. That was the time when your antennas were still up there receiving and transmitting below all grown-up frequencies. They had not yet been brought down to be "serviced and adjusted" by adult considerations according to society's norms.

The beautifully haunting graphic work of Jim Kay contributes a lot in giving an almost definitive gothic visual appearance to the written word, pulling you into the dark recesses of Conor's mind. These images are almost archetypes that will not be forgotten after you close the book. They existed in the past and they will continue to exist. The Monster is a pagan giant, a wicker man stuffed with the sum of all your fears and the darkness that you refuse to confront. His roots and his branches will tangle your soul and will not let you put this book down. I challenge you to try...

Listen to:

Electric President - Monsters

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