Friday, 23 November 2012

The Night Sky in my Head

The Night Sky in my Head
Sarah Hammond
Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012, 293p

The Night Sky in my Head is a tragic tale, yet full of optimism and hope. Sarah Hammond is an incredible writer, bringing to life her characters and situations with ease.

This is the story of Mikey, who has the ability to see Backwards, to see past events even if he wasn't present. In some ways, this is a gift, such as his ability to help a farmer find his lost calf. But it also reveals to Mikey dark secrets that he wishes would stay buried - most significantly, that of the disappearance of his father.

I struggled through the first few pages of this novel - I felt there was quite a lot going on all at once; though this all got explained as the novel progressed. Slowly, both the reader and Mikey piece together the mystery surrounding his dad, as well as how he came to be able to go Backwards.

Like Mark Haddon's infamous novel, the main character of The Night Sky has special needs, due to a head injury. In the Backwards, Mikey sees his old self, Little Mikey, prior to the accident, and notes that Little Mikey speaks faster than new Mikey. Hammond's writing is in the present tense, revealing Mikey's thoughts and feelings as they happen - a perfect use of the present tense.

The more I read, the more I enjoyed this novel. Although the plot is sad, Mikey sees the best in people, and people are drawn to him and love him. By presenting the tale through his eyes, Hammond creates delight for the reader.

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