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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  504 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Greylands is the haunting and exquisitely rendered story of Jack and his little sister, Ellen, as they struggle to cope with their father's despair in the bleak time after their mother's strange death. It is a fable for all ages, from the acclaimed author of The Obernewtyn Chronicles and The Gathering. ...more
Paperback, 175 pages
Published June 25th 1997 by Penguin
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  504 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Edwina Harvey
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nice to see this Aurealis Award Winning YA novel reprinted through Ford Street books. It's the story of Jack and his sister Ellen dealing with the recent death of their mother, and more troublingly trying to deal with their emotionally unresponsive father, still in shock after the death of his wife.

Through mirrors, Jack is lured into the Greylands, where he meets a quirky young girl he calls Alice, and puzzles over her possessiveness of a packaged "thing."

Jack travels between his reality and t
Necia Agnew
Greylands is a mysterious book about a young boy coming to terms with teh death of his mother. He travels to an alternative world but the reader is never sure what is real and what is make believe. The characters are rich and well drawn and very believable.
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read. So clever and beautiful, it addresses a child's grief, a mother's depression and family history in a way I've not seen before. ...more
Susanne Gervay
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So glad it's been republished - great book. ...more
Maree Kimberley
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww2017
Isobelle Carmody is one of my favourite writers, and this speculative fiction novel for children is a beautifully rendered exploration of grief after the loss of a parent.

Greylands tells the story of 12-year-old Jack who is trying to come to terms with the recent death of his mother, as well as deal with the deep grief and depression of his father. The story begins with an "Alice in Wonderland" feel as Jack finds himself drawn into the other side of the mirror, where he meets a mysterious girl w
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really had no idea what to expect from this novel. I know that I love Isobelle Carmody’s writing, but this is the first truly young novel that I have read by her. It is also, weirdly enough, the first standalone story that I have read. And man, I wasn’t disappointed. This was one of those stories that left me thinking, contemplating and wondering long after I turned the final page. This is certainly one of those stories that lingers long after you finish, in the best way possible.

The fragmente
Ruth Garlick
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In Greylands, by Isobelle Carmody, Jack’s mother died, leaving Jack feeling desperately sad. One night, he gets up to pee, looks in the mirror, and enters the greylands. There he meets Alice, a girl who is carrying a bundle and has many secrets.
For Jack to save his dad, who has been made empty by the loss of his wife, Jack must learn these secrets, and what the bundle contains.
This is a very, very sad short story dealing with the death of a loved one. And it touches subtly on suicide. It is ha
Brit McCarthy
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really, really liked this! Another from an excellent era in children's literature.

Jack's story is heartbreaking. He creates a dream world - The Greylands - in which he explores his grief and confusion surrounding his mother's death and his emotionally absent father. It is artfully crafted and a beautiful representation of how you can lose and find yourself again.
Fe Elle
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannon Dittmer
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an absolutely beautiful read. So much hidden, that really pulled at emotions. Can't believe I've put off reading this for so long. ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book it had a lot of detail in it
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
A beautiful, sad fantasy; heartfelt and terrible, but uplifting at the same time.

My only criticism is that I think the story would have been stronger if left to stand on its own, without the interjections of reality as Jack explains to Ellen what it means.

I don't usually read YA fiction, but I had a book of Isobelle Carmody's (The Gathering) that I had read many many years ago and still remember as one of my favorites. I had never read any of her books though, so I decided to seek them out. He
Heather Gallagher
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this after hearing Isobelle speak at the CYA conference. She gave a very inspiring workshop on using the senses in writing. This book was quite creepy, bordering on horror but I enjoyed the interesting take on death. Coincidentally, we were studying life after death (ie.grieving) in book group and this fit with the theme nicely. The shifts between the 'real' world and the Greylands - a fantasy world that seemed to be a metaphor for grief - was well done. And I liked the characterisations, ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a book I read after enjoying "The Gathering" by the same author.

Jack's life has been turned upside down by the death of his mother. He, his father and sister are each dealing with their grief in their own way, and in the privileged world view of young Jack, we explore with him the mysteries around her death. The things unspoken, kept from him and his sister, which they nevertheless intuitively grasp.

But there is also a magical realism element to this story when he passes through a mirr
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Carmody invites the reader into a physical world of loss and teaches that when dealing with death there will be grey times but life is about living and not to be wasted.

Jack drifts in between two worlds: the greylands and reality. When he thinks of his mother who has recently passed he is transported into the greylands and when he thinks of his little sister, he is transported back into reality. Through drifting between these two worlds he grows to understand why his mother killed herself and th
Tracey Jago
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book really made me look at grief in a new light. The metaphors are really great and once revealed it all makes perfect sense. My favourite metaphor is what Alice carries with her always. I never would have guessed what it was. It was one thing that really had me intrigued.

I got so involved with the story that when I reached “The Middle” chapter I remember that what I had been reading was a story within a story.

Isobelle has really done an awesome job writing this book. She really deserves
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
Not another Dead Mother book, I thought bleakly, as I started the audio book. But it's so much more than that - it's a definitive portrayal of a child's grief and coping mechanisms. The frame story lets the reader know right away that the supernatural events are just a story made up by the protagonist to explain his feelings to his sister. And yet this doesn't detract from the power of the tale and the grip it has on the reader. Somehow the story manages to explore grief and mental illness reali ...more
Max Davine
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The most hauntingly beautiful nightmare I ever had. Carmody's prose conjures worlds with life and complexity in so few words the reader will soon forget they're reading words and start believing in their senses and experiences that they are really there, and this is happening to people right in front of them. No measure of fantasy or imagination is too far reaching that she cannot make it vivid and real. Added to that, the story unfolding in this dreamlike world is so achingly beautiful the read ...more
I gave this three stars, but i felt it was only okay. Very interesting subject mattter. There was an introduction by Isobelle Carmody, and she mentioned that the inspiration for the story is from her own life, she lost a parent when she was a child as well, so the book sort of goes through the grieving process for this little boy. Such saddness T~T but it was deffinitely and interesting read. Interesting how the world can lose its colour.
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
A quick read, but a story to dwell on for an age. a story about the guilt that comes when a loved one is lost, and grief. not much is revealed about the characters until towards the end of the book, which works with the story, but I would really need to reread to discover the depth of the metaphorical world and its beasts. well worth the read.
Lauren Mitchell
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Sheahan
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I encountered this on the school bookshelves, set aside for Year 9s (14-15 yr olds) and so I read it.
It blew me away.
I taught it to Yr 9 kids who could really handle upper level thinking - taught it as a book of symbols, metaphors and a mystery.
For those who were ready for it - more than I thought, actually - it was a pipe-opener.
Feb 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Shelves: for-all-ages
fantastic!! This book is full of amazing metaphors. For life, grief, depression, people...It is a story within a story. Even though this is a young adult book I would recommend it to everyone. It is so beautifully written.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Definitely enough "in it" to make a great guided reading text. Journeys, healing, grief, family roles, death, depression are all minor themes. Written in simple language, an allegory (sustained metaphor) on one level and a narrative on another. Wow. ...more
Jayne-louise Pritchard
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This might just be Isobelle's best book! Such a tragically beautiful portrayal of grief through the eyes of a child; stunning imagery which will gently tug at your heart strings. I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it. ...more
May 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Greylands is through the mirror and that's where Jack ends up in this DAMN CREEPY TRIP OF A NOVEL. Kind of terrifying, pretty good all up. ...more
Feb 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
It was alright, but if it wasn't a book I had to read for school, I probably wouldn't read it. ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, teen
I absolutely loved this book. It is well written with an interesting storyline.
Sep 14, 2012 rated it liked it
very abstract book considering the target audience, but still very well done
Juliet Sampson
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What an interesting read. I could not put the book down. So well written and worthwhile. I know why Greylands has won an award.
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Isobelle Carmody began the first novel of her highly acclaimed Obernewtyn Chronicles while she was still in high school. The series has established her at the forefront of fantasy writing in Australia.

In addition to her young-adult novels, such as the Obernewtyn Chronicles and Alyzon Whitestarr, Isobelle's published works include several middle-grade fantasies. Her still-unfinished Gateway Trilogy

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