Thursday, October 23, 2014


By: Robert Dinsdale
Location: FIC DIN
Genre: History x Fairy Story

Fairy tale and history, wilderness and civilisation collide in this brilliant and magical new novel.
In the depths of winter in the land of Belarus, where ancient forests straddle modern country borders, an orphaned boy and his grandfather go to scatter his mother’s ashes in the woodlands. Her last request to rest where she grew up will be fulfilled.

But the driving snow, which masks the tracks of forest life, also hides a frozen history of long-buried secrets. And as man and boy travel deeper among the trees, grandfather’s tales begin to interweave with the shocking reality of his own past, until soon the boy’s unbreakable promise to mama is tested in unimaginable ways.

This a beautifully crafted book, its word images alone were enough to keep me turning pages. Meanwhile the story was totally absorbing. I felt suspended in its world, and putting the book down was like making myself wake up from a dream. It drew on a fairytale style, interwoven with cruel histories and intolerable realities. I suppose this is the dark and complex human stuff most fairytales deal with - loss, grief, injustice, peril, horror, ambivalence, companionship, loyalty, love, courage, hope. Children without mothers or protection. Damaged people who lose sight of their humanity. The wildness of the natural world, and questions about what it means both to be part of it, and to be truly human. These questions are deepened in this novel by the stories of people fleeing to the wild to escape the inhuman terrors of so called 'civilised' society. Jo-

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