The White Horse Trick by Kate Thompson
|The White Horse Trick by Kate Thompson|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Delightful, if apocalyptic, close to Thompson's trilogy about the Liddy family. Lots of surreal whimsy, sharp observation and superb dialogue balance the rather dark predictions about climate change and the behaviour of humans (and fairies). Unusual and challenging, yet easy to read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: October 2009|
|Publisher: Bodley Head|
We last saw Jenny before she made the move to Tir na n'Og and before she knew she was a changeling. These days, she's happily ensconced in the land of the fairies, where there is no time and nothing much happens, but everyone feels a huge sense of lazy contentment. Her human foster parents JJ and Aisling Liddy have also made the move and they are equally happy, in a laid back kind of way.
You couldn't say the same for Ireland though. It's the late 21st century and climate change has ravaged the once green and fertile land. Power generation is no more and with it have gone cars and shops and computers and telephones and almost everything that makes a consumer's life so comfortable. There aren't any consumers any more. Storms have washed away the soil and it's almost impossible to grow crops. People are living desperate and brutal lives and warlords have established fiefdoms in order to control what few resources there are. Two Liddy brothers - Donal and Aidan - are intimately involved in events, but they have very different intentions.
The puca and Mikey's ghost still sit on the mountain. Jenny's fairy father, Aengus Og, is still addicted to tobacco and still meddling in human affairs. Things come to a head when human refugees start pouring into Tir na n'Og and the Dagda threatens to close the time skin....
The White Horse Trick is a delightful, if apocalyptic, close to Thompson's trilogy about the Liddy family. In this book, the environmental themes come to a head. Thompson covers a great many contemporary issues here - climate change, consumerism, even the very thorny subject of immigration and asylum seeking. The background is really rather dark. But it's balanced by lots of Thompson's effortless surreal whimsy, sharp observation and superb dialogue. These balance the rather frightening predictions about global warming and the behaviour of humans (and fairies) and I don't think it'll stop even the littlest readers sleeping at night. There are some superb comedic scenes - the Dagda trying to teach a ragamuffin human child to sing was my favourite - and the denouement is full of wisdom and even hope, placing humans firmly in their (unimportant) place in the cosmic cycle of life.
It's unusual and challenging, yet easy to read. It'll make them laugh out loud and it'll also make them think. I'm a big fan of Kate Thompson and her easy and accessible style that belies her big ideas.
My thanks to the nice people at Bodley Head for sending the book.
They can also read about a world post-climate change in the tender and sweet After the Flood by L S Matthews. The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd brings environmental themes very close to home and is very funny to boot. Ireland and the supernatural come together in Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy to marvellous effect - but nobody's worrying about global warming!
You can read more book reviews or buy The White Horse Trick by Kate Thompson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The White Horse Trick by Kate Thompson at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.