Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Review of The Patchwork Hero

The Patchwork Hero by Michael Noonan

"The cries of the snipers almost shaped themselves into bright letters as they struck the morning air." That is the confusing, over-written and mercifully brief opening paragraph of the book and it would be a great pity if you allowed yourself to be persuaded that you didn't want to read a book about war, for this is not such a work.
Apart from that opening, the tale is almost faultless in construction, and the snipers are small boys who snipe at Hardy, the narrator, in words.
The scene is set in Australasia, according to the blurb, but it is a story of boyhood that might have been set in any one of a dozen countries.
There is shrewd observation in the character drawing and the atmosphere of childhood and life in Serenity is very well done indeed, so well, in fact, that the characters come to life immediately you meet them. The Patchwork Hero is Barney, Hardy's father and the author sews together about sixty scenes to give us a picture. And how well he does it!
Technically first-class, and very good reading.