Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax

Liz Jensen has a new book coming out that I'm going to review for Newcity.  I had read The Ninth Life of Louis Drax (2004) before, but I didn't write about it on my blog, so therefore I basically had no memory of it.  In case any of my handful of readers thought this blog was for you, ha ha - well, no.  I have a terrible memory, and don't remember a thing I don't write down.

Louis Drax, much to my surprise, despite having read it before (everyone is like that, right?) is about a precocious young boy in a coma.  It's kind of a mystery, because it's not quite clear how he became comatose.  The book is partly from the perspective of Louis, who has a unique voice, and partly from his doctor.  The whole thing takes place in France.  Jensen is British, but I guess she used to live in France.

Anyway, without giving too much away... there's this kid in a coma, and there's a little mystery, and there's also a little mysticism (or something) - for example, Louis's mother tells the doctor that she thinks her child is an angel.  Louis also narrates, and seems to have a fair amount of insight into what's happening around him.  Louis's voice is interesting to read because he's very aggressive for such a little kid.  Jensen is not at all precious with this story:
Every Wednesday after school, when all the others are doing ateliers or catéchisme or watching TV, I'm visiting Fat Perez who's a mind-reader who isn't any good at mind-reading and to punish him you could post some hamster droppings to him in an envelope, except maybe he'd think they were papaya seeds and plant them in a pot because he's so dumb and he'll wait and wait and wait for them to grow but they never will. And sometimes I count aloud just to drive him mad, un deux trois quatre cinq six sept huit neuf dix onze douze, or in English, one two three four five except then I have to stop because I don't know what comes after five. 

No comments: