Deep, mournful, A Monster Calls is gut wrenching, sad and yet beautiful as it captures, explores and lays open Conor’s inner turmoil.
“Conor screamed until he was hoarse, smashed until his arms were sore, roared until he was nearly falling down with exhaustion.”
Conor is the protagonist of A Monster Calls. The monster is the subject of his dreams, it comes to him in the depth of the night wanting something from him. In his conscious world Conor is grappling with the illness of his mum, living with his nan and intermittent visits from his father. Patrick Ness expertly portrays Conor’s battle through his labyrinth of emotions.
The prognosis for mum is not good and here is where the conscious and unconscious become intertwined, inextricably linked as they attempt to lead Conor to the truth that he needs to accept. The Monster is shrouded in secrecy, riddles and unpredictability and there is an unspoken, indescribable pull, the need to know more from him.
The powerful, imaginative and totally absorbing prose penned by Patrick Ness is completed by the moving, dark pencil illustrations from Jim Kay. The illustrations expand the novel by contributing to the powerful mood and atmosphere, whilst pulling you even further in to its depths. Absorbing and essential, do not even consider reading a edition which doesn’t include them.
A dark, deep, mysterious and totalling gripping novel from Patrick Ness. A Monster Calls remained in my mind long after the final pages were turned, read and devoured. This is writing for older children at its best, and it’s the absorption of this calibre of literature that will help switch kids on to the power of reading.