Thursday, July 06, 2006
Kaitangata Twitch by Margaret Mahy
I just read this book (you can read an excerpt here), which is being promoted as a supernatural eco-thriller - what a genre! It is a beautiful book though. Margaret Mahy has such fun with language, but is graceful too - she molds it both as a gifted sculptor might, smoothing a perfectly even surface, but also like a child joyfully squishing bright pink playdoh through her fingers. She creates an astonishing sense of internal logic with her magic and executes it apparently effortlessly though I am sure it's not.
This is not her strongest novel, it didn't make my mind spin like The Changeover or Tricksters, nor did it have the sophisiticated and complex characters of The Catalogue of the Universe (my favourite) or the oh-so-light, deft structure of The Haunting. But it does have her trademark happy, messy family relationships; likably clever and thoughtful child characters; a strong sense of place and a rich vein of magic which rings true in the context of the novel. It was lovely to be absorbed in a Margaret Mahy book again. I'll be interested to read her Maddigan series some time, it looks quite a departure from her other books.
I am taking Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith on holidays with me next week. I have been saving them up since Christmas...