Refugees and were­wolves

SFX - - Reviews - Nic Clarke

re­leased 5 May 320 pages | Paper­back Author Paul Kear­ney Pub­lisher So­laris

This is a cu­ri­ously old­fash­ioned chil­dren’s fan­tasy, and not be­cause of its his­tor­i­cal set­ting. It’s the sort of book in which our heroine learns key plot el­e­ments by eaves­drop­ping on adults dis­cussing their ( ne­far­i­ous) plans for her, not once but three times; the sort of book in which more “folksy” char­ac­ters are dis­tin­guished from the posh and ed­u­cated by the fact that they say “bain’t” and “’ ee” a lot.

The Wolf In The At­tic con­cerns 11- year- old Greek refugee Anna, who lives in a ramshackle house in ’ 20s Ox­ford, with an al­co­holic fa­ther driven to drink by the pres­sures of mak­ing a new life and his mem­o­ries of what they’ve fled. Wan­der­ing Port Meadow with only her doll, Pie, for com­pany, Anna meets a group of Roma peo­ple, and dis­cov­ers that there are strange crea­tures lurk­ing in the shad­ows of the woods; back in the city, she’s out­side the Ea­gle & Child pub at just the right time to bump into JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis and chat about re­li­gion.

Un­for­tu­nately, th­ese var­i­ous el­e­ments don’t sit well to­gether, as if the book can’t quite de­cide which story it wants to tell. Lots of po­ten­tial, but un­even and un­der- de­vel­oped in ex­e­cu­tion.

Paul Kear­ney served in TA reg­i­ment the Royal Ir­ish Rangers; out of 120 men he was one of only two Catholics.


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