Over the weekend I had a book I couldn’t put down, and that’s exactly what you need in a wet weekend, right? Unexpectedly, as I’m not usually a fantasy reader, I found myself in the fascinating world of an invisible flying lonely boy and was captivated. The curiously named children’s novel The Loblolly Boy is by local author James Norcliffe who is fast becoming one of my favourites. The story is timeless and grounded in the very real fears and emotions of children, and I couldn’t agree more with Margaret Mahy’s endorsement of the book as “a new classic”. I would recommend reading it aloud to the 9+ age group.
Even more impressive is the fact that three years ago I was in admiration of an altogether different kind of work by Norcliffe, a quite different world and much darker altogether, tightly written and intriguing The Assassin of Gleam, which won the won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for the best New Zealand fantasy novel of 2006. I am eagerly awaiting the next in this series.