Guardian Review

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Guardian review

The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond, reviewed by John Burnside

David Almond's first book for adult readers is not only dramatically and emotionally suspenseful, it is also vividly drawn and wonderfully well paced, as one might expect from a master storyteller. It is full of poignant moments and comic scenes - the séance with Missus Malone, for example, where Billy interrupts her attempts to contact the dead with questions about her sex life - and it raises deeply unsettling questions about what happens to the innocent in a world where everybody wants something. More than anything else, however, it is the characters who shine, especially the superb, somewhat Dickensian Missus Malone and her dark counterpart, Wilfred the Priest, a genuinely sinister creature, reminiscent of Robert Mitchum's murderous preacher in The Night of the Hunter, who moves in and out of Billy's world like a malevolent, yet strangely pathetic, devil. JOHN BURNSIDE

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on September 3, 2011 10:11 AM.

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