Monday, December 8, 2008

The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett

Ahhhh... I love the feeling of being caught up in masterful storytelling. Australian author Hartnett has written a fable that already feels like a classic.

Matilda, an old woman in her 70s, tells a young boy her amazing life story. As a girl, Maddy was a solitary child with emotionally distant, though wealthy, parents. Her only confidante was a nargun, a creature of stone from Australian mythology. Maddy falls in love with an unusual boy. They make a life together, for a time. But, as often happens in real life, two people who love each other can have different paths in life. It is the parting of ways from her loved ones that has a profound impact on Maddy and what shapes the woman she is to become.

Matilda hesitates at some points in her story because of her audience. The boy is not much interested in love, being too young. In another place, "She did not know how far a child should be invited into the world of his elders. With its hard laws and complicated outcomes, the grown-up world was not a good place for children."

A book that explores existential questions in luminous prose. Perfect for thoughtful teens or adults who are looking for something similar to (and much better than) Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist or Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

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