sunnuntai 24. heinäkuuta 2011
Luna is a beautiful and quite dark novel for young adults. Luna is the name the main character Regan's transgender sister has chosen for herself, "Appropriate, wouldn't you say? A girl who can only be seen by moonlight?".
Regan as a characters seems to work only as a way of telling the story of a transgender person without going too close, without using their point of view. I think the narrative decision works quite well, specially since this is a novel meant for young adults. Luna's feelings are almost too dark and strong for a YA book even when they are narrated through another character. I don't know if I'm being too protective, but I wouldn't recommend this book to my children until they were 17 or 18 years old, Luna's suicidal thoughts and the pressure a young transgender girl faces in everyday life come through so strongly. I'm not saying young people don't know about pain or that the pain transgender people feel should somehow specially be kept away from the eyes of children. I'm saying that this book left me, a 23-year-old slightly genderqueer person with aloving and supporting family, feeling that the world is such a bad place it is wonder more people don't commit suicide. And that's not a feeling I want to pass on to (my future, possible) children. Of course books like this are very important for suicidal teens who find comfort in knowing other (if fictional) characters feel the way they do.
The novel itself is very good. It is well written, the characters feel real and they change during the story. Regan was left wuite flat, but this book was about Luna, who is portrayed as mysterious and complex. The feelings of the characters, their hopelessness seem real, the reader can feel them. I haven't read any YA books handling gende identity before, so I can't compare this to those, but it is definitely a good YA book. I think it is also a good novel, and that adult readers should read it, too.
GLBT Challenge, Gender Identity and Expression Challenge.
This trilogy of thrillers is set in an alternative history where the Great Britain made peace with Nazi Germany. I'm not a big fan of thrillers, but these books really made me see the fascination of the genre. They are cleverly written, following a pattern but one so well designed it didn't bother me at all. Each of the novels has two narrators, a middle aged gentleman (who rises from Inspector to Watch Commander during the series) and a female character, different one for each book. The plots are all about solving a political murder, but the politics of Walton's world makes them interesting.
The setting of the novel is the 1960s London. Hitler is in power in the continent, and the Brittish government turns more and more fascist during the course of the books. I'm certainly not a historian, but this alternative history gripped me and didnt let go, it felt real and possible. The ones resisting the fascist goverment live in constant fear of being discovered but they want to continue their struggle because they believe in their cause. Some of the choices people make in this environment look horrible at first, but it becomes easy to understand their reasoning when the world becomes more familiar to the reader.
I enjoyed reading these novels. They are perfect for summer, not too heavy in regard of the language or the plot, but they give you much to think about, truly transfer you to another world. I'm certainly going to look for Walton's other novels, and perhaps her work encourges me to try other thrillers as well.
British Book Challenge: The books are set in an alternative history London, and I feel that the writer must have known much about Britain's history and culture to be able to create such a believable alternative history.
GLBT challenge: The central character of the series, Inspector/Watch Commander Peter Carmichael is gay and the threat that something would happen to his partner is a motivation for him to do things for the government he doesn't feel are right. Half a crown, th elast book of the series, specially handles the relationship of Carmichael and his life-partner (with quite a cliché ending).