Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Noah Barleywater Runs Away

Title: Noah Barleywater Runs Away
Author: John Boyne
ISBN: 9780385752466
Releases: May 10, 2011

In John Boyne’s new novel Noah Barleywater Runs Away, our title character is eight years old when he decides to run away. As he points out, as old as he is, he still hasn’t accomplished anything. Besides that, there are problems at home that Noah would rather not think about. Noah instead journeys through the woods and passes through two strange villages before coming to a third village with a wondrous toy shop.
Before even setting foot in the toy shop, Noah knows things are different here in this village. Perhaps it’s because he’s not quite sure how he got there, or because of the strange tree that he can’t help but stare at, or the toy shop itself with its seemingly impossible shape. Or perhaps it’s the talking dachshund and donkey who constantly eats. In either case, Noah ventures inside and meets the kindly (though slightly odd) toymaker.

The toymaker, a man so old he can’t quite remember his age, makes only wooden toys. With the help of the puppets handcrafted by the father he inherited the shop from, the toymaker tells Noah his own story. He tells Noah how he, too, once ran away and had wonderful adventures but paid consequences as well. As the book unfolds, Noah begins to tell the toymaker stories of his own as well. Noah’s stories are mostly of his mother, a wonderful and exciting mother who seems to be keeping a secret from Noah.

From the start of John Boyne’s new novel, readers are taken into a world slightly different from our own. It’s our world, with just a touch of magic. I think of Noah Barleywater Runs Away as a sort of modern fairytale. Without giving away the ending or too much of this incredible story, it is a story of life and family, of death and broken promises, of running away and coming home. It is one of the most subtly enchanting and touching books I’ve read in some time.

--Kyla Paterno

Noah Barleywater Runs Away releases May 10, 2011. Email us to pre-order your copy.

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