Rebecca Stead interview feature (by Claire Armitstead) from yesterday’s Guardian
Stead is the first American to win the Guardian prize in its 46 years. Like her previous novels, First Light and the Newbery medal-winning When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy is set in the New York where she grew up and still lives. Though the communal laundry room and intercoms of the apartment block where Georges lives might not be familiar to UK readers, the emotional territory of this withdrawn, slightly eccentric boy is recognisable to anyone who has ever stuck their fingers in their ears and chanted: “La, la, la…”
The spareness of the writing, and the lightness with which the novel handles a child’s response to painful events, are reminiscent of David Almond’s Skellig – as is Georges’s friendship with two home-schooled children, Safer and Candy, who live at the top of the stairs and invite him into their spy club, to investigate the mystery of the sinister Mr X.