There’s a village an hour from London. It’s no different from many others today: one pub, one church, redbrick cottages, some public housing, and a few larger houses dotted about. Voices rise up, as they might anywhere, speaking of loving and needing and working and dying and walking the dogs. This village belongs to the people who live in it, to the land and to the land’s past.
It also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, a mythical figure local schoolchildren used to draw as green and leafy, choked by tendrils growing out of his mouth, who awakens after a glorious nap. He is listening to this twenty-first-century village, to its symphony of talk: drunken confessions, gossip traded on the street corner, fretful conversations in living rooms. He is listening, intently, for a mischievous, ethereal boy whose parents have recently made the village their home. Lanny.
And she laughed, and said she understood, and then off she drifted in that nice way she has. Responsive to the light, I would call it. The type of person who is that little bit more akin to the weather than most people, more obviously made of the same atoms as the earth than most people these days seem to be.
It’s hard to even know where to start here. The story was visual and captivating, trapping me from almost the first page. I had to keep reading, had to see what would happen next. It was creepy and hopeful and terrifying. Overall, though, it was satisfying.
I’ve never read anything like this before; told in three parts, each part felt written by a new author or contributor. The style and narrative switch with ease into a new perspective. Somehow I feel I know these characters so well, even with minimal introduction or description. They lived and breathed in real life, and we’re only allowed to experience quick slices of their lives with them. These slices are revealing and complex but oh-so-short, leaving you wanting more.
Honestly, I just loved this story and wished it had been longer – 160 pages were not enough!