13th April, 2019

Review: Lanny by Max Porter (Faber & Faber)

I finished this little book within one day on a recent reading retreat. And what a strange little book it was. Lanny is a chimerical and slightly twisted tale that needs some getting used to but then it doesn't disappoint. 

Lanny is a somewhat special boy. He is sweet, inquisitive, artistic - but not like the other kids. The village he lives in is populated by all kinds of people, the new and the old, and their lives are being watched over by Dead Papa Toothwort, an ancient spirit who is stiring in the ground and who has seen it all. Dead Papa Toothwort he has a plan: lives are disrupted and everyone begins to question everything and everyone else as a race against time begins.

This novel is extremely hard to describe. It is carried by a multitude of voices and it is weird. Yes. It truly is weird. However, that is also what makes it special as it stands out, even though the topic itself is not a new (or very unique) one. At times it feels like you are listening to the chorus of a Greek tragedy, at other times the book is pure emotion. Porter's characters are wonderfully drawn, from Lanny's always slightly distracted mum to his somewhat alienated dad and to Mad Pete and Lanny himself - even though they are not described in extensive detail, we learn so much through their speech. And we feel with them and for them. 

The unusual design of the text with sentences flowing all over the page and into each other makes this book an extra bit special. I loved how it digs up the past and presents it next to the present, how light and darkness are shown so close to each other and how current social observations are woven in together with myth and folklore. 

You need to experience this book for yourself as no description will be able to give it justice. :-)

Rating: 4/5 stars

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All texts and photographs are mine, unless indicated otherwise.