I just read two interesting new books over the long weekend:
The Midnight Zoo – Sonya Hartnett
I won’t deny that this book is a little different! Two brothers, Andrej and Tomas, are travelling across the war torn countryside. They have been separated from their
family, have seen their Uncle shot, they have to take care of their baby sister Wilma and above all – they must survive. The two boys move through village after village; many whose people have scattered and whose buildings have been destroyed. With no destination in sight, Andrej and Tomas arrive in yet another decimated town. But this one is different; it has a zoo. The people have fled, but the animals remain, locked away in tiny cages. Now, this is were the novel becomes interesting – the animals can talk. The boys listen to the stories of the animals as they talk about freedom and their longing for home.
This novel is an acquired taste. Sonya Harnett’s language is just beautiful – if you ever want to read a novel that is rich in description, this is the one for you. Some of the story is a little confronting (the parts where people are shot) and some of the story is just a little strange. I kept asking myself: why are these animals talking? Where is this story going? I won’t give away the ending, because I’m still not sure about it myself. I came away from this novel thinking about war, death and freedom; it certainly make you consider the effect of war on children and animals. If you’re sick of the same old teen novels and are looking for something different, then I suggest you give it a try. I get the feeling that this novel will mean different things to different people.
Trash – Andy Mulligan
Good old fashioned adventure books seem to be making a comeback these days, and I for one am pretty glad about that! I used to read a lot of Famous Five type books as a kid, and ‘Trash’ reminds me a little of those stories. The main difference, I guess, is the setting. Raphael and his friends (the stars of the novel) are dumpsite kids, who have a rather miserable existence. Their days are spent sifting through a rubbish dump, hoping to find items that will make them some cash. When Raphael finds a mysterious bag containing a key and a wad of cash, his life changes forever. He and his friends are drawn into an adventure that is dangerous and heartstoppingly exciting.
I really liked the way this book was narrated. Each character took it in turns to have their say and the mystery was pieced together through these different perspectives. The adventure that the boys embark on is made more interesting by the fact that you really feel like you want these boys to win. They have such an ugly life and are so appreciative of the little things, that you can’t help but be drawn into their story. And I must say, the ending almost made me tear up a little. I would definitely recommend this one!
Both novels are available at the Nicholas Library.
Happy Reading! 🙂