2018 - Shortlisted
This beautifully crafted story is of a child walking on the perimeters of adult knowledge and the threat of the Second World War. It carries a tone of memoir mingled through the narrative, giving a melancholy feel against which a cast of unusual characters play their part. Older readers will easily recapture their youth and identify the fear and strangeness of a changing world — it is a reflection of their own world, a comforting nod that ultimately all can be well.
The mysterious Blue Cat, who appears and disappears, is pursued by Columba to track its truth, and consequently, the truth of a changing world. Columba’s dreaminess permeates the text and creates a mounting tension as a search for knowledge presses through. She is drawn to Ellery from You-Rope, whose silence suggests more than a different language. This is a gentle work that moves among a cast of characters, each memorable as they shine off the page.