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Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2019 & October YA/Fantasy BC pick

Darci's Review: 

Max Porter delves into the oddities of life through the eyes of those closest to Lanny – his mother, his father, Mad Pete, and Dead Papa Toothwort. My curiosity was piqued from start to finish, with Porter weaving an intricate tale of Lanny and his quirky sayings and doings.

We are invited to explore the inexplicable mundane-ness of the village and its happenings through Dead Papa Toothworts connection to the land, creating an air of mystery around who this being is and how he came to be. Lanny’s parents have expectations of perfectionist ideals and fail to emulate this through their own behaviour. Magic seems to surround the village through Lanny and his adventures, whereas through Papa Toothwort’s perception, you get to experience the volatility of the townsfolk’s barest thoughts and desires.

Through intertwining perspectives of differing understandings, Max Porter implores you to contemplate the polarity between the wonders of life and the horrors of existence. He reflects these ideals of volatility through the physical writing structure, and the choppy perspective cycle.

Overall, this is a riveting read, that begs the questions: what controls us, and how do we reconcile with our conflicted natures?


Other Reviews:


‘Startling, moving and overwhelming . . . Wonderful.’ Daily Telegraph

‘A devastating, disquieting and exhilarating book.’ Psychologies

‘Books this good don’t come along very often.’ Maggie O’Farrell

‘Stunning and deeply affecting.’ Nathan Filer

‘A magically beguiling work, a triumph.’ Financial Times

‘A thing of total joy . . . thrums with rhythm and life.’ Observer

‘A remarkable feat of literary virtuosity.’ Sunday Times


A little bit more about the book:


Not far from London, there is a village.

This village belongs to the people who live in it and to those who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present.

It belongs to families dead for generations, and to those who have only recently moved here, such as the boy Lanny, and his mum and dad.

But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, who has woken from his slumber in the woods. Dead Papa Toothwort, who is listening to them all.