A Monster Calls

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Title: A Monster Calls
Location: Adult Lending
Call no.: NES

Watching the person you love most in the world die is a tremendous thing. It is leaning over the edge of a cliff, holding onto the one you love, while the monster that is death grabs onto them, pulling them down into the abyss below. In those moments, you are filled with a grief that makes you certain if you had just held onto them a little longer, a little tighter, death would not have taken them.

We come to witness this profound experience through the eyes of Conor, a thirteen-year-old English schoolboy whose single mother is dying of cancer.  This lonely young boy has an unlikely companion – a monster whom he has called unknowingly. Through their interactions, the monster tells Conor stories from its ancient past. These stories about queens, princes, apothecaries and invisible men are narrated in the hopes of giving the young boy the courage to face his own truth. These fantastical elements are entrenched in reality for the reader who vicariously lives through Conor’s troubles at school and at home, drawn into his anger at the world and the thing his mother is battling against – death.

With its all-consuming black and white illustrations and potent words, A Monster Calls dares to bring the reader to an evocative place where good and bad, and death and life, are blurred. This book compels us to pause and reflect on what really matters in our existence.

Reena Devi is a volunteer Content Curator with library@orchard and she is an avid reader who also happens to write. She enjoys Japanese literature with its recurring theme of quiet grace amidst intense darkness bordering on macabre. Writers who make magic and the supernatural an everyday reality such as Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are also her favourite.


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