Lanny, by Max Porter
I’ve been wanting to talk about this book for a while but I know I’m going too find it really difficult to do it justice. And it deserves justice, because it’s one of the most innovative and poignant and clever and beautiful book I’ve read this year.
The Guardian has a brilliant review
Lanny is a gloriously idiosyncratic little boy, busy building dens, talking to trees, enchanting and baffling his parents; getting on with the endlessly interesting stuff of life in an “ordinary home-county place”, a rural village in commuting distance of London. We see him, and we miss him, through the eyes of his rapturously devoted mother, a father who can’t feel the same closeness, an ageing artist who cherishes Lanny’s buoyant creativity, and a whole company of local people whose voices rise and fall in an “English symphony”. We also watch Lanny from the perspective of Dead Papa Toothwort, an ancient spirit who stirs in the ground and has seen all life in this place.
“a joyously stirred cauldron of words”… it continuous.. and it’s just perfect!
(You can read the whole piece here).
The book is about the past and the future and what we’ve lost and creativity and magic and being different and relationship and nature… but it’s mostly about love. And the language is rich and alive.
Stunning. Imaginative. Extravagant. Poetic. Old as time. Contemporary.
We get to know Lanny and his family and then he goes missing… but I’m not going to spoil the ending for you… please read it. Sit in your most comfortable chair, a blanket and a cup of tea if you wish, or under a tree in the sun and let the words swallow you up and get lost in them.
You will not regret it.
Waterstones’s have a beautiful special edition if you need a present for someone.
Max Porter also wrote ‘Grief is the thing with feather’, another total gem. I’m a huge admirer of his work. At the Cheltenham Festival of Literature he was in the audience of Anthony Anaxagorou and I had a total fangirl moment. Mercifully he was very gracious about my rambling.