Contemporary Irish urban life has not, to date, figured significantly in Irish young adult fiction: the ‘realities’ we hear about in our daily media are largely ignored in our young fictions. Thompson’s new novel goes some considerable distance in addressing this imbalance, even though much of the narrative is set in the rural world of Co. Clare. It is here that a Dublin mother and her two sons (by different relationships) decide to settle, but her older boy, Bobby, is a very reluctant participant in the plan. His ambition is to return, as soon as possible, to the city of his gang and their range of anti-social activities – car thefts, joy riding, drug taking, among others. (‘I’ve loads of interests,’ he says wryly at one point.) He is, in one application of the term, a ‘creature of the night’ and the raw physicality of his behaviour and the ingrained coarseness of his language are unflinchingly portrayed. But another ‘creature of the night’ comes into play also, in the form of the novel’s supernatural, folkloric dimension. It turns out that the house rented by the family has once served as the setting for a child murder – and, moreover, that it now serves for nocturnal visitation by a mysterious ‘little woman’ visible only to Dennis, Bobby’s four-year-old brother. Tough, gritty, non-judgemental writing creates in Bobby a young teenage character of edgy forcefulness and, as we would expect from Kate Thompson, the other-worldly strand of the story is handled with skill and subtlety. The resolution of the plot demands – and is given – a satisfying union of both these elements.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2008-09-03 12:01:502023-01-03 12:04:40Creature of the Night