Helen Dunmore, author of Zillah and Me
and The Silver Bead
, begins a trilogy for children with a novel that describes both an idyllic life, growing up beside the sea, and an undersea world of wonder and amazement with equal aplomb. Its not easy to imagine life under the waves, living and breathing amongst an ancient people without resorting to stereotypes. But Dunmores original description throughout this book is one of its best qualities.
Set in Cornwall, Ingo is the story of Sapphire and her brother Conor, and what happens to them after their father mysteriously disappears at sea. Sapphire still thinks her father is alive. Somewhere. She remembers stories he used to tell her about a Mer creature who fell in love with a human, but could not come to live with him in the dry air.
The following summer, both Conor and Sapphire are inexorably drawn to the water, despite the worries of their mother. They love the water so much, and spend hours in the nearby cove. When Sapphire follows Conor one day, after he has been gone a long time, she meets Faro--a Merman who introduces her to Ingo, an underwater world she could only have dreamed existed. And Ingo blood runs deep through her veins and it is not long before the call of that other world becomes too strong to resist.
Dunmore is an accomplished writer for adults, she was the first winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, but her books for younger readers, despite having all the same qualities and powerful storytelling talent, have not been as critically or commercially successful. Ingo, however, is sure to change that perception. It is a beautiful novel, both enchanting and exciting, that appeals to readers on many levels. It is seductively easy to read and stays in the memory for a long time.
(Age 10 and over) --John McLay
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"As ever, Dunmore's characters are beautifully drawn… Though the first in a series, this book works perfectly as a standalone title, with a satisfying resolution but enough left hanging in the air to make the characters and situations live on in the reader's mind. Ingo has a haunting, dangerous beauty all of its own." Philip Ardagh, Guardian
"The electric thrill of swimming with dolphins, of racing along currents, and of leaving the world of reason and caution behind are described with glorious intensity." Amanda Craig, The Times
"Compellingly lyrical." Independent
"Helen Dunmore may have a few drowned readers on her conscience, so enticing and believable is the underwater world she creates in Ingo." Telegraph
"Helen Dunmore is an exceptional and versatile writer and she writes with a restrained, sensual grace." Observer
"A remarkable fantasy… It's a haunting, beautifully written book which creates a totally believable parallel world." Northern Echo
"Ingo is an intoxicating adventure… Wonderful, evocative storytelling." Publishing News
"An enchanting, modern twist on the Hans Christian Anderson story of the little mermaid… The marine imagery gives the story a wonderful sprinkling of the nautical and the magical." Telegraph
"A tense, well-plotted story… Dunmore's sense of place, of the natural world, is particularly evocative." Irish Sunday Independent
"Loss and language are poetically blended." Irish Times
"The under-the-sea imagery is elegantly handled… Altogether a thoughtful book with emotional resonance." Carousel