A far cry form Discworld, this is supposedly a book for children and I guess the success of it is that it can be read on different levels – each readeA far cry form Discworld, this is supposedly a book for children and I guess the success of it is that it can be read on different levels – each reader taking away what they want or expect from it. On the surface it’s a story about two young people, Mau and Daphne, thrown together on a desert island after a tsunami washes away his people and wrecks her boat, leaving her as the only survivor. The setting is ‘somewhere in an alternative South Pacific’ and ‘somewhen roughly in the (probably) early nineteenth century. The storyline is simple and centres on rebuilding the Nation (the island) after the devastation, taking in drifting survivors to make a new community.
Underneath this it’s the story of the rebuilding of both Mau and Daphne, and through them a re-examination of ideas about spirituality, philosophy and tradition. It’s also a book about practical culture-clash – or rather culture-bump as Daphne discovers that Mau is not a savage and Mau tries to understand Daphne’s strange ‘trouserman’ ideas. There are some wry misunderstandings and some misconceptions, but in the end Mau and Daphne and the rest of their growing Nation reach an amicable understanding, but then the real savages arrive and most savage of all is a dangerous mutineer set adrift from Daphne’s own ship before the tsunami hit.
It’s a gentle book, almost restrained, but it doesn’t hold back from darkness, especially for Mau’s character, deeply damaged by the loss of his people and railing at both the gods who let them die and the dead ancestors who won’t leave his thoughts alone. In the end Mau and Daphne together find a way to protect the emerging Nation from the biggest threat, the well-intentioned trousermen who come looking for Daphne. ...more
When his parents are gruesomely killed a toddler manages to evade the murderer and ends up in a graveyard where he is befriended by the resident ghostWhen his parents are gruesomely killed a toddler manages to evade the murderer and ends up in a graveyard where he is befriended by the resident ghosts, adopted by a dead couple, the Owens and named Nobody, or Bod, for short. Though he's a normal boy his education and his adopted family imbue him with certain skills, but he can't stay in the graveyard forever and outside there are dangers, especially from the man Jack who killed Bod's real family and is still hunting for the one that got away.
This won so many awards I feel that I should be able to rate it higher than three stars, but I can't quite raise the enthusiasm....more