Author: Max Porter
I absolutely loved Max Porter’s debut novel – ‘Grief is the thing with feathers’ – so my expectations were high for this book. It didn’t disappoint. Just wow. Such a unique voice and style. The pages drip with lyrical language and ooze raw emotion. Porter weaves magic through the pages and is utterly spellbinding. Published by Faber and Faber (March 2019) I’d recommend this for well, everyone – although I imagine it is a little like Marmite. You will either love it or hate it but must at least try it to find out.
Whilst an absolutely glorious read, this book (as with the first) did take some perseverance for me to get into. I like that. It challenges me and takes me out of my comfort zone with reading. It’s all too easy to pick books we know we will enjoy and be able to read without too much dissonance. Max Porter uses techniques and language in a way I haven’t experienced before so it takes a handful of pages for my brain to switch into a different way of being and then the serotonin flows. His writing is captivating and powerful – once I am ‘in it’ enough to be carried by it.
It reminds me of the ocean – some pages roll across a shore with familiar rhythm and tidal lyricism, yet others pound and crash like violent waves that toss and tumble you under the surface. It feels vast and inspires awe. At times gasping for breath and others floating on warm salty water enjoying the view.
On the surface this becomes a story about a missing boy – a boy from a rural village on the commuter belt to London – but it is also so much more. Assumptions, prejudice, relationships – with each other and the space we exist in. Folklore. Mystery. Violence.
Lanny lives with his mum (Jolie – a retired actress come author) and his dad (Robert – a city worker) although it’s probably fairer to say he lives mostly in his own world – of ideas, thoughts and the woods. Dead Papa Toothwort and Mad Pete I will let you find for yourselves. The book explores the overlapping lives of different villagers and centuries old beliefs about a ‘green man’ in their midst.
Creativity is at the core of Lanny – both the main character and the book. I can’t wait to go back and read it all again.