Lanny by Max Porter is actually brilliant. My favourite read so far this year. It has elements of fantasy balanced out with issues of modern life set amongst the back drop of a small old English village and all packed into a neat little short read.
The book is set around 5 main characters, Lanny the eccentric boy, Jolie who was a actress before Lanny came along, Robert the commuting to London big wig father who doesn’t understand his son, Mad Pete the old artist and Dead Papa Toothwort the old village spirit who has been around since the village began. Dead Papa Toothwort is a central character that brings all the concepts of domesticity together, not only does he free form his appearance but he listens to the towns thoughts and conversations which you read in abstract pages full of scrambled thoughts and conversations that really encompass what it is like to live in a small community.
I am really enjoying experimental fiction books that challenge the norms of classic writing such as Girl, Woman, Other & On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. They challenge you to think more as you read but also envelope you in the story in a whole consuming way and when something terrible happens in ‘Lanny’ you will be scrambling to get through to the end as the book becomes riveted with elements of an eccentric crime thriller.
The imagination it must have taken Max Porter to write this book, not only the concept but then to have fused the story so cohesively is outstanding and no surprise it was longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize. I kept thinking this book would make an amazing movie or play which completely made sense after listening to Max Porters interview at the Sydney Writers Festival, he is incredibly theatrical and so so funny. If you aren’t sure after reading this review, listen to the podcast (saved to the ‘Listen’ highlights reel) as this will give you a good sense of the book without any spoilers.