Digital version – browse, print or download
Receive the latest news & reviews direct to your inbox!
The vogue for the thin often extends to teenage fiction but this one is nicely full and fat. The Hamiltons, parents and five children plus guests, return to Carnival's Hide, the setting for many New Zealand midsummer Christmases of the past. Another past is resurrected in the three brothers, 'Carnivals who have stopped hiding', who take their first names off the bookshelf and their identity, in part, from the book that the daughter, Harry, is writing. But there is no easy retreat into fiction here. Their surname, they tell her, means 'goodbye to the flesh' yet the skeletons of this past and the Hamiltons' own, the problems of the flesh, have to be faced in important and painful ways. The book is wonderfully playful, densely layered and intriguing (the Carnival brothers are not the only tricksters), and a demanding read but there are many already tuned in to Mahy through earlier novels. For book boxes from third year up, book lists for GCSE reading and as a GCSE text if you're lucky enough to have that choice. A credit to the new style Plus range.