Listening to: "Move Your Body" by Sia
Outside: The flagging gusts of Storm Doris whip across our fallen fence
"The passing seconds became dangerous and spacious. The rules tinkled silently as they broke."
- Frances Hardinge, The Lie Tree
My fantastic bookish friend kindly recommended this, and I only gave the back-cover blurb a cursory glance; as usual, I liked to leap in with little or nothing known about it, the way you'll follow a trail you've never been down. (Do you always want to know what to expect? No.) All I knew, as the cover of her edition boasted, was that The Lie Tree won the 2015 Costa Book of the Year Award, which is, ahem, major news.
And after having read it in a whirlwind of train journeys (how many times did I almost miss my stop? Several.) and late night I-will-keep-shifting-positions-to-get-comfortable-in-bed sessions, I can say that Hardinge's climb to the top of the Costa pile is a staggering accomplishment: the product of hard work, love, and the blood and sweat and tears of true art.
My friend probably didn't know how much I love Victorian history, or paleontology, or the history of women's slow clawing away at the social norms that once held them so tethered and constricted inside the whalebone stays of the home. The questioning of and colliding with family expectations.
And all of this against the background of Vane, an island as cold as it sounds. The swirl and tug of the sea wind, the roar of waves against the sea caves, the scrape of shovels and picks into the sand of history. The Lie Tree is dark, explosive, engaging. It is an excavation of more than just fossils.
|Hardinge's novel reminds me of my very own lantern, Ammonite fossil and Filey seashell - |
every time I look at these I think of Faith.
And only after I've read it, as I've glanced over a review or two for The Lie Tree, did I realize that this is actually a children's fantasy book, fit for readers as young as twelve. This surprises me (pleasantly!). Perhaps having walked out of my childhood so many years ago, I forgot that children could read and think so deeply (forgive me!). Even as an adult, I am in awe of Hardinge's art.
A good book is one that makes you see the world differently. This is one of those books.
If you get a chance to read this, please take advantage.
Happy Saturday, everybody!