Monday, April 19, 2010 | |

Review: The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford

The Shadow Year is the World Fantasy Award winning novel by Jeffrey Ford. Having decided to step back and try to read several of the World Fantasy Award winners, I thought I may as well begin with the most current. Full disclosure: The book did tie with Tender Morsels for the win, so it wasn't complete and total victory. Still, this book sang to me like few books do.

I was wrapped up in the setting of the book immediately. You can tell that the author grew up in the time period that he wrote about, because everything is living and breathing. It reminded me of stories my father used to tell about growing up with his older brother during the same time.

The Shadow Year is a murder mystery/fantasy/coming of age tale. As far as I can remember, the point of view character in the tale doesn't ever get a name. He's just an 11 year old boy. The story manages to blend the everyday life of growing up in the 60s with a child's hunt to catch a murderer. The novel is difficult for me to describe, so I'm just going to say that if you like coming of age tales like To Kill a Mockingbird, then this book is right up your alley.

The Shadow Year (9.5/10) is quick, humorous, frighteningly accurate, and well written to the point that I didn't want to put it down for sleep. I laughed out loud several times while reading the book. The humor inherent in growing up shines like a beacon, and looking back I can see why it beat out The Graveyard Book and the other nominees to win the World Fantasy Award. This isn't my MUST BUY of 2010, since it came out in early March of 2008, but I'm going to take a quick trip back in time and make it my MUST BUY of 2008.


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