Lanny by Max Porter

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“Which do you think is more patient, an idea or a hope?” 

Max Porter

Synopsis: There’s a village sixty miles outside London. It’s no different from many other villages in England: one pub, one church, red-brick cottages, council cottages and a few bigger houses dotted about. Voices rise up, as they might do anywhere, speaking of loving and needing and working and dying and walking the dogs.

This village belongs to the people who live in it and to the people who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, a figure schoolchildren used to draw green and leafy, choked by tendrils growing out of his mouth. 

Dead Papa Toothwort is awake. He is listening to this twenty-first-century village, to his English symphony. He is listening, intently, for a mischievous, enchanting boy whose parents have recently made the village their home. Lanny. 


When I started this book, I had no idea what was going on. There are these chapters with random words and sentences scrambled on the page, about a certain Dead Papa Toothwort. When you progress into the book, it’s becoming clear what is going on. Dead Papa Toothwort is listening to every conversation, looking for that one boy that he needs. Lanny is somewhere within those conversations, talking about his different ideas and thoughts that make him a special boy.

The chapters in the fist part of the book are divided by different pov’s. The chapters show the pov of Lanny’s mom, dad, Pete and Dead Papa Toothworth. Lanny is portrayed by these people, so we don’t know what Lanny is like from his pov. Then the story changes in the second part of the book. There is one long part of thoughts and conversations of villagers, showing their ideas about what happened to Lanny. The way it is written made me read this as chaos and panic. There are wrong accusations, which are causing distress and trust between the characters is important here. The third part goes back to the characters we read about in the first part. This part shows what happened to Lanny, where we get a fine description of his days of disappearance. This part is heartbreaking and I definitely had to swallow a lump in my throat. You can see the situation in front of you and it’s terrible.

I was amazed by this story. I went into this book without knowing anything about it, and when I finished the book I realised I read something special. After reading this, I walked around with a strange feeling, having to think about the events in the book for some time. The story lingers with you.

I gave this book 4/5 stars.

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