Monday, August 25, 2008

The New Policeman - Kate Thompson

here it is, august 25th, and the summer's nearly over. labour day weekend's coming up and the kids will all be returning to school next week. although it's been a couple of years since i was last in school, the beginning of september always manages to make me feel a little melancholic. it marks the consummation of those lazy summer days, and it makes me think that sometimes time moves much too fast for my liking. doesn't it seem like july just barely started and here we are at the end of august?

with all of that in mind i really couldn't have chosen a better time to read "the new policeman". jj liddy lives in the county of kinvara in ireland. his family is well-known throughout the county for the incredible ceilis they've been hosting for generations. however, lately it seems as though time is moving faster than it ever has. of course everyone finds things to attribute it to: computers, extracurriculars, cars, etc. and really, who doesn't feel that way? with all of these modern demands there barely seems to be time to truly enjoy and experience life to the fullest. but is that all it really is?

when jj asks his mother what she wants for her upcoming birthday, her response is simply "time". and so, perhaps taking this a little more literally than most would be inclined to, jj sets off to buy his mother some time. and not just in the form of a nice wristwatch. jj sets off to do something about the general feeling of being pressed for time that has invaded his household, and indeed the world. of course this being ireland, you can bet that this is a good point for the fairies to make an appearance and jj's quest takes him through a souterrain and into tir na nog.

this is a quietly brilliant book that addresses a feeling that tends to increase as one gets older. i don't remember time going by as quickly when i was much younger. perhaps it's because the younger you are each day represents a larger fraction of your life. yes, i've spent some time thinking on this. however, back to the book. although i really enjoyed this book i'm not sure how well it would truly resonate with children, and the lack of "real" action may count against it. although it was awarded one of britain's most prestigious book awards in 2005, the whitbread (now costa: gah it's been taken over by the starbucks of britain) it should be noted that the awards are decided by adults and not children. and perhaps that's something to keep in mind more generally.

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