Speculative Salon Reviews

“As a well-read adult I have to admit that there are certain genres I have avoided. OK I did watch Un Chien Andalou, (warning: the link is to the actual film and is not for the squeamish) the classic surreal short film from the ’20s. It was directed by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali and is definitely NOT a YA film. Lark’s End, however, is tempting me to investigate the literary world of that film and the movement that inspired it.

The world of Lark’s End is topsy-turvy. How else to you describe falling up from your roller-coaster seat down into a trap door that you climb up out of ? I admit that I was prepared to be confused and disappointed when I started reading this story. Shifts of location left me feeling lost and for a YA book the language seemed too simplistic. After the first couple of chapters I was comfortable feeling lost. And very grateful for the language. By the middle of the book I was breathless keeping up with the journey of the companions.

Far from being simplistic, Lark’s End requires your full attention to follow the dream-like transformations and fast-paced movement–
Tahmi woke.
She sat against the wall, barricaded inside the cave. Her skin and clothes were clean. There wasn’t a speck of oil left on her body! She felt her hair and giggled. “I had the most horrible nightmare,” she said.
Her voice echoed in the dark.
“Jerry!”
It was black as pitch and the only noise she could decipher was tiny drips splattering onto the limestone.
Splat.
Splat, splat.
“Jerry, are you there?”
Drip
Drip, drip, drip.
Green eyes blinked inches away. Tahmi screamed, pressing herself against stone.
Splat, splat.
More eyes gathered, closing in.
“What do you want!?”
Fire lit the room, illuminating at least ten black roaches and the scorpion who towered over her with it’s tail pointed.
Where was Jerry?
After reading Lark’s End, I don’t think there would be any trouble getting your YA to read Kafka or Borges. I know I would have liked the help!

 OH, and check out the work of cover illustrator Mohammed Zakzouk. Lovely.”

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