Rating: 4 / 5
I had heard some good and some mixed reviews about LANNY by Max Porter and a lot of fantastic things about his prior book but hadn’t picked up either. I spotted this copy of LANNY at a local used bookstore early this year so decided to pick it up. Participating in a recent readathon and having some time on my hands between reading prompts, I was searching for another short book to add to my weekend and this one caught my eye.
LANNY is set in a small village outside of London. The title character is a young boy who stands out a bit from the typical town with his unique imagination and creativity. His parents Robert and Jolie work hard to connect with Lanny, but don’t always know how. Jolie connects him with another eccentric creative type, Pete, an artist who agrees to provide Lanny with art lessons which turn into friendship. Lanny also catches the interest of Dead Papa Toothwort, a being intrigued by listening in on the changing human world and Lanny in particular.
This is a bizarre and unique and intriguing book! Overall I really enjoyed it, though I do see why it wouldn’t be a book for everyone. There are a lot of different layers to this story between the magical realism in Dead Papa Toothwort to the very real parenting struggles felt by Robert and Jolie as they raise Lanny. There is a bit of mystery and a lot of symbolism going on.
The author plays around with format as well with words flow in different ways on some pages. The audio is done well too with multiple narrators to capture the different voices of the narrative including the main characters and the voice s of the village as well.