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Monday, 26 November 2012

Review: A Corner of White

Author: Jaclyn Moriarty

Release date: October 2012
Genre: Fantasy / Magical realism
Target audience: 12+
Australian publisher: Pan Macmillan


A Corner of White is a tale of two worlds: the real and the fantastical. It is a story of belief in oneself and belief in the magic that one can never really know is there. It's bizarre and it is undoubtedly brilliant - mindbogglingly so.

This story is split between the two worlds of Cambridge, England and The Farms, Kingdom of Cello. There are two central characters Madeline Tully and Elliot Baranski. Madeline lives in a very familiar Cambridge and her life is a strange one. She ran away from home and her mother came with her. They left their wealthy lifestyle behind and now they live in an attic apartment and eat baked beans every day. Madeline's mother is often working on the sewing machine to pay for the baked beans but all the while she is playing her favourite quiz show (and getting all the answers wrong). Madeline and her two friends (Belle and Jack) are home educated by a hotchpotch of people recruited by her mother.

Elliot lives in a magical world. A world of agriculture and a royal family. Elliot is determined to travel to the Lake of Spells and catch a "Locator" spell. Elliot believes that his father has been taken by a Purple and is trapped in its cave. The Colours are dangerous waves that sweep through Cello disturbing everything in their path. Some colours are more dangerous than others. 

The characterisation in A Corner of White is both comical and inventive. Madeline has a quirkiness about her that her friends both love and disbelieve. Elliot is a heroic sort, a fixer, a problem-solver and an utterly determined young man. We follow both their lives as they collide through a crack in a parking meter and a broken TV set. Although they never meet, through the crack between our worlds, they strike up a friendship and have the power to change each other's lives for the better.

The only thing to really say is that I love this book. I love its originality. Take the game of deftball, it had me chuckling to myself and trying to explain it to everyone I met. There's the layer of our history too. There are so many fascinating references to Byron, Isaac Newton and Charles Babbage. 

The themes which run through the book can touch the heart of any person - illness, friendship, denial of the truth and believing in the seemingly impossible.  

Jaclyn Moriarty is an incredible writer. Her voice is so distinctive. It's zany, it's imaginative it's comical and it is completely unique to her. 

I really cannot wait for the next novel in the series. I just know whatever comes next, it will be brilliant.

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