Book and Borrow. And loving it!
Full Moon by P.G. Wodehouse
Blandings Castle will routinely have young people banished to the rural countryside for being in love with the wrong sort, wily attempts by these 'wrong sort' of lovers to get back together with their beloveds and a misadventure with the Empress, the pig-in-residence, not to mention 'hordes of wild aunts' - all profiled for the discerning reader by the finest craftsman of sentences known to mankind. Full Moon has all these and more.
If you've read earlier books by Gerald Durrell, the most striking thing about this novel is the maturing of the 'green movement'. His first books were full of lonely struggles written about with excellent good humour and a great sense of timing. This one constantly refers to organisations and institutions that now fight the good fight to keep planet earth inhabitable for all its inhabitants. Possibly for that reason, the humour does not sparkle as much. The writer himself is aging and writes about the difficulties of old age with his trademark humour. But the thrill of adventure that animated earlier books, where many things hung on a thread, and that gave a sharper edge to the jokes, is missing.
If you're looking for an introduction to manga (like I was), this is not a good book to begin with. If you're looking for an extremely diverse collection of short stories, told in all sorts of innovative visual styles, this one is for you. This is a collection of artists across the world, using manga to tell various kinds of stories. I loved the diversity of it. Only the first story seemed to give me a feel for the the shape of the form. Then I lost myself in multiple stories. The switches between the styles of various artists/cartoonists/writers is extremely disconcerting. This is a true roller-coaster ride - the stories can turn your stomach, leave you in the middle of free fall and set you back on the ground wanting to do it again:)
Moonward is a dark, satirical, serious-funny story. An overwhelmingly visual tale. Nothing in this book is fiction. Nothing is real. A dystopia, so clearly shaped by the world we inhabit, that makes you wonder why we don't ask the questions this book asks. This book is a contained scream of rage. Which is also funny. The tale moves like a nightmare between what is real, could be real and might soon be real, between horror, fear and the desperate need for respite. It's savagely funny - holding up the skeletons of our lives for laughs, showing us the graphic realities of our times in gray, black and white. Highly recommended.
The first of a trilogy - but the other two books are sadly not available on Book and borrow:( The book sounds too much like Harry Potter in the earlier half but the similarities gradually dissolve. Nathaniel is a much more finely developed human-sounding character than Harry. For one, he literally shapes his own destiny. An act of vengeful spite turns into a nightmare of angry magic, death, conspiracies against the government and the development of a tense relationship between Nataniel and, the djinn he invokes, Bartimaeus.