Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Into the Grey"

Celine Kiernan is an award-winning author of fantasy novels for young adults. Her critically acclaimed work combines fantasy elements with the exploration of political, humanitarian and philosophical themes. She is best known for The Moorehawke Trilogy, a dark, complex trilogy of fantasy YA books set in an alternative renaissance Europe. First published in Kiernan’s native Ireland in 2008, the trilogy has since been published in 15 different territories, and translated into 10 different languages.

Kiernan’s fourth novel, Into the Grey (aka Taken Away) – a YA ghost story set in 1970′s Ireland – won the 2012 CBI Book of the Year (formerly The Bisto award) and the CBI Children’s Choice Award. It is the first book to have won both categories. It won the RAI Book of the Year 2013, and has been shortlisted for the Sakura Medal (English High) 2014. In 2013 the Irish Times named it as one of the best children’s books of the past 25 years.

Kiernan applied the Page 69 Test to Into the Grey and reported the following:
What an interesting page for you to have chosen! I do actually think it’s very representative of the rest of the book.

This scene – where one twin supports the other as they quietly face their fear – comes at a time when a slow build up of creepy occurrences is just about to explode into full on paranormal catastrophe. In a world before mobile phones, video games, and the internet, these boys have found themselves separated from their friends and their home, and immersed in a haunting which has been going on, unnoticed, for their whole lives. Their family is too distracted by grief and stress to be of any use to them. They only have each other for support - but they are about to lose each other, perhaps for good.

My use of identical twins is not random, and neither is my choice of 1974 as a setting for the book. Ireland was still very much torn by divisions and secrecy then. Many people did not talk about their past, and so did not recognise themselves in the stories being taught about Ireland’s history. The idea of looking at your own face in the mirror – of looking at your beloved brother’s face – and not recognising what you saw, is something which echoes not only with my own recollection of being a teenager (no longer a child, not quite an adult, not yet knowing where you fit into the world) but also the larger dislocation of my country, that didn’t yet know how to respect the fallen on either side of a divide which would continue to split families down the middle for decades to come.
Visit Celine Kiernan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue