on 18 September 2011
I came across this book via a link from Moorcock's own website. Being a long-time Moorcock fan, this intrigued me.
I was not dissapointed one iota and The Multiverse has been expanded by a Cornelius every bit as fascinating, resourceful and complex as her famous uncle. In this age of Video and instant electronic data, no amount of watching documentaries of the blitz can really give a full understanding of how it really was. Reading this did.
As an additional gotcha (well certainly for me) the opening chapter 'Sarfend' brought a wry knowing grin to my face as I read it. Not just because of an unexpected - but wonderfully appreciated - cameo (I won't spoil it) but because I live in Sarfend (or should I say Southend) and now look at it with quite different eyes.
Knowing that this is part of a quartet is wonderful. Having to wait is painful.
Maybe one day Mike M will repay the coin, and cameo Charlie in one of his books.
on 26 July 2011
This book is different to anything I have ever read before. It explores the dream/reality world of a child, a waif left alone and friendless, in what appears to be a hostile environment, the wreck of a constantly blitzed wartime London.
As her security is demolished, Charlie finds her own way to survive by wits and intuition. She hovers between the world of imagination, the world of dreams, and another indefinable spiritual reality which Charlie believes holds the key to her future understanding. Some of the incidents of her real life are difficult to contemplate, so she seeks refuge and solitude within her other worlds. The realities she faces there often appear more puzzling and frightening than events of the 'real' world where we place her.
'Thin Reflections' is not an easy read; it is a complex novel of time and place, which occasionally leaves the reader behind. Central to it all is this feisty little child, who deals with everything so competently, having the courage to fight for others as well as herself. A likeable tom-boy, she learns quickly not to trust anyone and to keep her own counsel, though she does meet some friends, who are able to help her out in times of need.
The story does not end here; the author has given us lots to consider and contemplate. I look forward to reading the sequel, to discover what Charlie Cornelius does next.
on 5 June 2011
This beautifully written book has created a memorable character in Charlie Cornelius, a nine-year-old waif left alone during the London Blitz. Courageous and determined, she navigates her way through not only the ravaged city but also different realities. She confronts heartbreak and danger but also finds kindness and true friendship. Graeme Talboys is one of those rare writers who can convey real feeling and horror without ever resorting to cliche or crudeness. This book is the first of a quartet, and there are lots of hooks to make me want to know what happens next.
on 6 April 2011
In this moving and mind-expanding novel, a tiny lost girl, Charlie Cornelius, is dropped in the center of the London Blitz, like a pebble in the wrong pond, waves shimmering and rippling out from her centre, reflecting alternate realities, possible futures and pasts. Charlie is beautifully sketched and acts as a modern day scuff-kneed, comic-reading Alice, if the Looking Glass were to take her not into any kind of Wonderland but into the realms of Gormenghast, Kafka and the real-life brutalities of WWII. Michael Moorcock is probably a big influence here and has apparently given his blessing for Talboys' borrowing of various characters from the English Assassin's extended family tree. I'm very much looking forward to the next three novels in the Charlie Chronicles.
on 13 June 2011
I had the opportunity to read this book at an early stage, and I'm glad now that I was too busy to help out. This way I read the completed work without having any preconceptions. A lost child is adrift in the frightening world of Blitz-time London. The horrors she experiences are handled expertly, no sentimentality but again no unnecessary brutality. In many places in the book I was thinking I'd totally lost the plot then suddenly a flash of revelation occured and I knew what was going on. I felt compelled to read on just to get those moments of enlightenment. A very satisfying read that played with reality - in a way reminiscent of the musical film of Pink Floyd's The Wall.
Thin Reflections is a rare thing, a book which delivers beautifully flowing and descriptive prose but also has a strong emotional heart. More than once I had a lump in my throat as I followed Charlie's struggle to survive alone in a frightening, confusing world where several realities intertwine, each holding beauty and horror and each moving Charlie further along her search for the places and people she belongs with. It was one of those books I was sorry to finish, but will look forward to picking up and reading again.
on 3 August 2013
Graeme K. Talboys engages the reader in a captivating portrayal of shadows of worlds layered onto our own. An indistinct blend of the imperceptibly real and the ambiguously unreal prevents the move between worlds from being obvious, drawing the reader subtly yet assuredly into the central character's state of mind. The Blitz setting oscillates subtly between being the horrific backdrop to a real world which is falling apart, and an almost welcome return to normality.
Against this backdrop, we follow Charlie Cornelius, a young girl trying to uncover and understand her past whilst moving into an increasingly uncertain future. Charlie's journey is intangible: she begins as an ordinary nine-year old girl, yet gradually absorbs a believable air of maturity which nevertheless sits well on her young shoulders.
The author's character development is exquisite and utterly alluring. The story is populated with people so well drawn, that you will become attached to them, worrying about them if you have not encountered them for a while. And then there is the monster you should hope never to meet.
This novel is engaging and challenging, but above all, the story is new.
on 3 May 2011
Charlie's world is fragmented during the blitz. It's going to take some detective work and a lot of courage from the little girl to follow the path that might lead back to her mother. Slipping through different versions of history, she chases shadows and evades predators. The story is intriguing, the prose intelligent and flowing, the description often inspired. This is the first of four books that tell Charlie's story and slowly unravel mysteries, some only as yet hinted at. Charlie is an engaging character whose skin you feel comfortable in from the beginning. Highly recommended.
on 10 April 2011
This is a beautifully written story that gripped me from start to finish. Charlie, the young protagonist is finely drawn and I empathised with her from the first page. Talboys' prose is poetically deep and flows effortlessly along, taking the reader from the reality of the blitz and the desparate search for a beloved Nan, to elusive memories and dreams of things that might or might not have been. This is a story of the fight for survival in a child's small world that is being terrifyingly destroyed around her.
His descriptive narrative is so dense I could picture in my mind every little detail of Charlie's surroundings; either in reality or in the dreams and memories that she fell into.
This book will go onto my 'To be read again' shelf.
It is brilliant: put it on your wish list.
on 24 April 2013
Intriguing read and beautifully written. Different in a good way, poetic and dreamlike at times. Will definitely explore further works by the author.