Skellig (by David Almond)

23 01 2012

The figure of David Almond hardly needs an introduction as he’s been on the receiving end of numerous of awards on both sides of the Atlantic. Skellig is Almond’s debut novel for children. It was published in 1998 and won both the British Carnegie Medal and the American Michael L. Printz Award. The cat had already read this book a few years ago, but because of Amazon’s great end of year sales, both My Name is Mina and Kit’s Wilderness landed on her desk, and in the interest of continuity she decided to re-read Skellig.

In Skellig, we meet Michael, who has just moved to a new house. The house – and especially the garage – is a bit rundown, but because Michael’s parents are preoccupied with their new (prematurely) born baby, they have not had the chance to fix this. When Michael goes into the garage, he meets a weird, sick and old-looking creature, which turns out to be Skellig. Michael also meets his neighbor Mina, who’s home-schooled and who helps him take care of this bizarre figure with interests in aspiring and Chinese food, especially numbers 27 and 53… The two discover that Skellig is no ordinary homeless man, but that he has something that resembles wings on his shoulderblades… is Skellig an angel, there to help Michael and his parents in the hard time they have?

Almond’s prose is seemingly easy, but it really is very rhythmic in a way that is actually more akin to poetry at times. This is even enhanced by the mystical, yet mysterious ideas conveyed in the short novel. Indeed, Almond doesn’t shy away from the religious. Even though we never really know that Skellig is indeed an angel, the fact that his mere presence seems to have an impact on the lives that he touches (both figuratively as well as literally), shows that this is a story that will not only appeal to children who tend to be drawn to the enchanted, but also to adults that like to read story with a spiritual edge. Indeed, the more ‘mature’ reader, will recognize that David Almond’s slant of prose is most akin to the magical realism of such writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

But to be honest… though the cat recognizes the importance of a work like Skellig, she couldn’t really feel the magic, the way that millions of other readers felt about this book. Good enough to give David Almond’s other work a try, for sure, enchanting and emotive, but for the cat, the wow-factor is missing…  It’s just not her thing entirely…



One response

8 08 2012
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (by Laini Taylor) « Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] that the cat was drawn into reading her very first “angel” book (not counting David Almond’s Skellig, but that is a whole different ballgame). We all know that in the wake of Stephenie Meyer’s […]

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