Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Never Let Me Go

with 5 comments

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.
“Need a poo, Todd.”
“Shut up, Manchee.”
“Poo. Poo, Todd.”
“I said shut up.”

That is the opening paragraph of The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, which won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize a couple of weeks ago. It richly deserved the prize. As fellow nominee Frank Cottrell Boyce put it in his review:

This book is on the longlist for the 2008 Guardian children’s fiction prize, along with my own. If I had any sense, I would try to improve my chances of winning by slagging it off. The trouble is, you’d only have to read the first sentence to see how fantastic it promises to be.

My review of the book has just gone up at Strange Horizons. You will notice that the letters YA do not appear in the review at any point. This is because there is no such thing and when it gets down to it most people seem to agree so we should just end this consensual hallucination that it exists. Please join my crusade.

Getting onto another bugbear, The Knife Of Never Letting Go is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy. As I mention in my review the fact that standalone novels are becoming increasingly rare in genre publishing is a source of some irritation to me. There is currently no information available about the next volume but hopefully it will turn up soon. I reviewed Thorn Ogres Of Hagwood by Robin Jarvis in 2003. I have had an Amazon order for The Dark Waters of Hagwood, the second volume of the trilogy, since 2004 but there is still no sign of it.

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Written by Martin

7 November 2008 at 10:24

5 Responses

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  1. Amazon has a book called The Ask and the Answer listed for next May, which sounds like it could be the next volume to me.

    Also, while most people who read this book on the reading week enjoyed it (e.g.), opinion was quite divided over whether the first sentence actually is good or not.

    Niall

    7 November 2008 at 10:47

  2. I certainly think don’t think that it exists as a critical category, by which I mean a piece of theoretical jargon that aids discussion or analysis.

    It exists as a fanboy/publishing term but any attempts to extract any substance from such uses beyond “it’s great! You should buy it!” are doomed to failure.

    Attempts to actually lay down some thinking about what the term might mean are frequently met by obfuscation or outright hostility by those same publishers and fanboys.

    Ergo, I suspect you’re right. We should just ignore the term.

    Jonathan M

    7 November 2008 at 10:54

  3. While I don’t think that the first sentence is as fantastic as Cottrell Boyce does it certainly isn’t bad. And the second sentence is even better.

    Jonathan: glad to see you are on board.

    Martin

    7 November 2008 at 11:43

  4. [...] banging on to the whole of the interwebs for months about the brilliance of Patrick Ness’s The Knife Of Never Letting Go but apparently it is so violent it needs a health warning. Or, at least, that is the impression the [...]

  5. [...] you probably know by now, I am a huge fan of The Knife Of Never Letting Go and I’ve even managed to persuade a couple of people to go out and buy it. So it was a [...]


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