In The Times, Amanda Craig reviews two time-slip novels for young readers I’ve been anticipating with some relish: Gideon the Cutpurse, by Linda Buckley-Archer, and (ring the bells and deck the halls) Jeanette Winterson’s first children’s book, Tanglewreck:
What is particularly interesting is that, where adult novelists such as Audrey Niffenegger and Liz Jensen have recently used time travel to explore romantic love, these children’s authors use it to explore the moral debt adults owe children – a challenging preoccupation that guilty parents will recognise all too well. The special nature of childhood rests on having the luxury of time, as Dylan Thomas’s great poem, Fern Hill, recognises.
Tanglewreck, like Gideon the Cutpurse and Kate Thompson’s The New Policeman, is partly a satire on our current perception that we all have too little time due to a change in the nature of reality, rather than our own greed and impatience.
Love a good cutpurse story – I have a hankering to do a highwayman novel, meself. Someone’s also recommended Charley Feather by Kate Pennington.
I’m less keen on timeslips, with some notable exceptions (such as Stravaganza), but find myself in the middle of writing three of the buggers so it must get into the blood somehow.
Been out on the North Shore reading at two libraries today. As there are little kids there I have a secret cache of pirate picture books in case they get bored with mine, which is for 9 to 12 year-olds and gets a bit scary for young ‘uns.
I wasn’t so impressed with Cornelia Funke’s Pirate Girl when I read it, but can report it goes down a treat – if you ham it up enough and read it with your eye-patch on. Now I think it’s hilarious.
One girl asked me: “Did you used to wear that eye patch when you were a pirate?”
What can one say to that but: “Of course”?