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Magrit by Lee Battersby, illustrated by Amy Daoud

Magrit by Lee Battersby and Amy Daoud (Walker Books Australia)

Judges' Comments

Magrit is set in an otherworldly graveyard from where ordinary life can be seen but, it seems, not re-entered. Magrit has a tenuous life, surviving on detritus thrown from the surrounding apartments and under the judgemental eye of Master Puppet, her friend and critic who she has constructed from found bones and jetsam. Her existence becomes all the more challenging when a baby lands in the graveyard, having slipped out of an apartment. She names him Bugrat and does her best to care for him, despite the caustic wishes of Master Puppet.

Magrit is beautifully written, succinct, tender and, at times, desperate and disturbing. It manages to combine the dream logic of Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman with the otherworldliness of The Twilight Zone. Constantly inventive and suspenseful, Magrit is a book that stays with the reader long after it has been finished.