What a pleasure it is to enter into the world of a new novel and try to figure out how it works. Maggot Moon is a puzzle to solve. First, there are the short, staccato chapters, each only a page or two. Then there are the mildly disturbing illustrations by Julian Crouch, a flip-book fly and rat (along with rat poison, decomposition, and maggots) loitering in the margins of the text. We find ourselves inside the mind of an oppressed kid in an authoritarian school, which turns out to be in a totalitarian state, "The Motherland." Soon it becomes clear that we are deep in a dystopian revision of history. In this version of the 1950s, Britain is a conquered state, and the government is at work keeping its citizens buried not in pleasurable fictions, but brutal lies.
The narrator, fifteen year-old Standish Treadwell, has a mind that is itself a bit of a labyrinth. He describes himself as "...
The Maggot Moon website has an extensive audio excerpt and an essay by its author, Sally Gardner, about the book's background.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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