Mal Peet is one of those authors whose work defies categorization. He tends to write novels in which the protagonists are older (as in Exposed, a retelling of Shakespeare's Othello, set in the world of professional soccer) or in which the subjects and themes are mature (as in Tamar, a complex historical novel about the World War II resistance movement). Although his books are marketed as young adult novels, they would certainly appeal to adults as well.
Peet's newest work is no exception. The only inelegant aspect of Life: An Exploded Diagram is its title; elsewhere, Peet showcases the kind of skillful plotting and fearless exploration that have earned him a terrific reputation - and no shortage of awards.
Clem Ackroyd's arrival in the world in 1945 is marked by an explosion, as his mother Ruth - out in the garden to appease a late-pregnancy rhubarb craving - narrowly avoids being...
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