An English idyll explodes in Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now, a novel ostensibly written for children. Adults should read it too, says Geraldine. How I Live Now [Meg Rosoff] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. “Every war has turning points and every person too.” Fifteen-year-old Daisy. How I Live Now [Meg Rosoff] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. It would be much easier to tell this story if it were all about a chaste and.
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Rarely does a writer come up with a first novel so assured, so powerful and engaging that you can be pretty sure that you will want to read everything that this author is capable of writing. But that is what has happened with Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now, which, even before publication, rosfof being talked of as a likely future classic. Though billed as a book for older children, the novel is full of shocking events – underage sex, with a whiff of incest, appalling violence.
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
But younger readers, with their relative lack of experience and greater insouciance, may well be less troubled by these things than the many adults ho will also read the book. The four cousins are romantic, bohemian bow enjoy an eccentric, faintly feral pastoral idyll of an existence in a rambling English country house, mystically in touch with nature and, indeed, with Daisy. One of the twins, Isaac, talks to animals; Piper, the girl, knows how to get honey from bees and watercress from a running river.
And Edmond, who has ‘eyes the colour of unsettled weather’, is so much her soulmate that rosof can get inside her head, even when they are far apart. As Daisy and Edmond fall in not-so-chaste love, her Aunt Penn, who appears to be some sort of international peacekeeper, is summoned to Oslo in an attempt to avert the threatened war.
The hoa takes place in a kind of parallel present or near future. The unworldly, though not entirely innocent, English children and their sophisticate cousin are left to fend for themselves as the fighting breaks out.
How I Live Now – Wikipedia
Initially, they experience the war chiefly as a glorious absence of adults. It is Daisy’s voice – spiky, defiant and vulnerable – that makes this novel; it also ensures that it is so compelling and delightful. Although Daisy can be an unreliable narrator, especially when it comes to things she’s not much interested in, such as the details of war, she is also utterly trustworthy.
She is a character we are permitted to see from many different angles – as hurt, but also cool, ironic, downbeat and superior; as an infuriating anorexic; and as resourceful, self-deprecating, funny and determined. The latter qualities turn out to be rather necessary, because Daisy and her youngest cousin, Piper, are evacuated, moved on and eventually have to try to trek back home cross-country to find the rest of their family without being killed by one side or the other.
Even though the details remain vague, the war is fiercely imagined, its interpretation through the offhand eyes of a child making it oddly more horrific. The first bomb goes off, Daisy informs us, ‘in the middle of a big train station the day after Aunt P went to Oslo and something like 7, or 70, people got killed’.
The violence remains largely in the background until near the end, but touches the children in unexpected ways: How I Live Now is a book written out of an apprehension of how terrible the world is, but also out of its potential for magic. Rosoff has great imaginative reach; her voice is so finely tuned that I instinctively trusted her, from the opening page livd up to the wonderfully equivocal ending.
With its lack of punctuation, its muddled tenses, its breezy tone concealing an absolutely stricken state, this is a powerful novel: Topics Meg Rosoff The Rsooff.