Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 75 - Octavian Nothing: Volume 1 by MT Anderson

I often wonder where the line gets drawn between adult and young adult fiction. The Pox Party, the first volume of the Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing pretends the line doesn't exist. Set in Boston during the Revolutionary War, it is a dark novel that plays on the notions of freedom, identity, race and philosophy.

In 2006 it won the National Book Award for Young People. In one of the early chapters it is mentioned how cats are thrown from increasingly high distances to see how far they can fall before they no longer land on their feet. In 2007 it was an honour mention in the Printz award for excellence in young adult fiction. In one scene the young Octavian watches as a man is tarred, feathered and beaten repeatedly until he screams incoherently.

The tension starts quite early in the book. Like a good horror film, even when people appear to be living completely normal lives we feel the twinge of fear at the looming catastrophe. It is unrelenting in some ways, because even when the last issue is resolved, you can see the malevolent shadow of another on the horizon.

I would strongly recommend this book to everyone. As with And Tango Makes Three, I think adults (or people with more mature life perspectives) will get more out of this than your average teen, but it is a cracking good read no matter what age you are. I can't wait to buy the second volume.

Word count - 0

No comments:

Post a Comment