|Click: One Novel, Ten Authors
David Almond, Eoin Colfer, Roddy Doyle, Deborah Ellis, Nick Hornby, Margo Lanagan, Gregory Maguire, Ruth Ozeki, Linda Sue Park, Tim Wynne-Jones
3 / 5
"'I can't believe your'e not going to open it!' Jason said. 'Don't you want to know what it is?'"
A video message from a dead person. A larcenous teenager. A man who can stick his left toe behind his head and in his ear. An epileptic girl seeking answers in a fairy tale. A boy who loses everything in World War II, and his brother who loses even more. And a family with a secret so big that it changes everything.
The world's best beloved authors each contribute a chapter in the life of the mysterious George "Gee" Keane, photographer, soldier, adventurer, and enigma. Under different pens, a startling portrait emerges of a man, his family, and his gloriously complicated tangle of a life.
I was really excited for this book. It had a lot of promise! So many great authors, and all working for such a great cause. And, I did love most of it - there were some great and beautiful "sub-stories", and the writing was beautiful. However, for those of you who have read A Tale for the Time Being, you'll understand what I mean when I say things got a bit unexpectedly weird. I was hoping for a great resolution to the mystery, but was pretty disappointed by what, ultimately, the explanation turned out to be.
However, the characters almost made up for any of the story's shortcomings. I don't think I'll soon forget the tale of the girl and her mother who live alone on the seashore, or the one of the teenager who feels so alone in her despair until she meets a photographer who captures her story with a large piece of jagged glass. Or the Russian prisoner who receives unexpected kindness. I think the main characters - Maggie and Jason, and their grandfather "Gee" - framed the story really well. I'm quite interested to know if the authors all conceived the entire story together, or if they wrote their chapters in order, with no idea where the book would go (even if they tried to gently guide things one way or another). Knowing that would make the story even more strong to me, I think - knowing one way or the other. I remember trying to write a story like that once or twice in my past, and being disappointed to see where my partner had taken the tale I was trying to tell. Each author only gets so much control over the book, which I found endlessly intriguing - especially because, as a writer, I certainly love having control of my own stories!
I'd recommend this to writers especially, because I think they'd be fascinated to watch how ten different authors approached the same novel. (And luckily, their different narrative styles don't disrupt the flow of the story in any way.) I think it was a very interesting read, just not quite up to the par I was expecting.
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