Kit’s Wilderness (by David Almond)

24 03 2012

Even literary giants aren’t for everyone… and although the cat can see why David Almond is considered such a great talent in the vast ocean of children’s and young adult literature, he’s just not her cup of tea. Skellig was a first indication, Kit’s Wilderness confirmed it. David Almond may be a fantastic writer, but it’s just not my thing.

In Kit’s Wilderness – yes yet again this novel won awards on both sides of the ocean – Almond sketches a perfect piece of British history. Kit is 13 when his family moves back to Stoneygate. Kit’s grandfather, an ex-miner, likes to tell stories about the town’s coal-mining past. It is this hard past that still haunts the area. Kit is drawn to a boy called John Askew, who, along with other children of old mining families likes to play the game called Death. In sequences reminiscent of magical realism, Almond connects Kit’s present, the lost children of the past (some of which have the same names and ages as Kit and his present-day friends), and his grandfather’s memories of the Stoneygate mines and Stoneygate.

David Almond is a master at playing with the boundaries of past and present, rooting the characters of his novels strongly in the history of a certain place, and no where is this more apparent than in Kit’s Wilderness in which Almond yet again poetically evokes a place he knows like no other. The place one is born is not just a physical space, but it almost determines a character’s spiritual being. Almond’s favorite themes are also represented in this novel: the contrast between life and death, the bond between past and present, growth and healing, the magical reality of time and place… If that sort of metaphysical and allegorical reading is your shtick, then there’s no better book than Kit’s Wilderness.

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2 responses

25 03 2012
akismet-ecc683f38348871e79c8421689d9e216

I am impressed by how fair you have been with a book that isn’t your sort of thing ( it is mine). Bravo.

25 03 2012
Ringo the Cat

Thanks! I’ll take that as a compliment. As I wrote, I can totally see why Almond is considered a great writer, but for me to find a writer truly fantastic, I need a sort of emotional connect, which I just don’t feel when I read his work. But, far from me to withhold anyone their pleasure 😉

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