A first for me – speculative fantasy with a touch of horror and morality in Michael Marshall Smith’s new title
Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence
Hannah Green is an eleven year old girl who has been sent to live with her grandfather: her parents are in the middle of a divorce, and they think they’ll be relieving her of some of the stress with her relocation. She’s not particularly worried – her grandfather is a bit ‘odd’ but basically nothing special, and she’s not actually expecting much excitement from this change. But, hold on – Hannah’s grandfather has been ‘acquainted’ with the Devil for the past century and a half, and something about the people she keeps encountering and the endless adventures and chases she’s dragged on alternate between confusing and amusing her. Narrated entirely from this childlike POV, the interesting connections and proclamations can occasionally feel “above her weight’, but there are simple and clever points made at near every turn.
From nearly instant dismissal of Hannah and her parents’ relationship issues, the solidly mundane part of the story as it is so common as to be something everyone knows, we are treated to a series of allegories and twists that show the ultimate power in relationships – the ability of humans to pick apart, hurt, damage and disrupt relationships and lives – a tale that has no beginning or real end. And, with the devil being in a fight for his own ‘supremacy’ in handling all the bad, indifferent and improper in the world, the story has many layers that bring purpose and intent when it comes to human behavior into solid view, when you add in the child’s perspective of not actually ‘knowing’ but intuiting the good, the bad and the ugly, the interconnections are clever, if occasionally overwhelming.
Smith has a unique writing style that tries (perhaps occasionally too hard) to create conflict and twists unexpected as the story moves forward, but these moments are offset by gorgeously penned moments about parenting, regret, choice and description that brought a sense of imagery and visualization to the story that kept me reading on and intrigued. While I’m still not entirely sure what readers this book is intended to appeal to – it does manage to feel as if readers from upper middle grades and older could understand the twists and lessons, while adults won’t be turned away by the simplicity, as within the story are several clever messages, lessons and proclamations that are both humorous and pointed.
Title: Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence
Author: Michael Marshall Smith
Genre: Horror / Occult, Satire, Science Fiction
Published by: Harper Voyager
Published on: 27 July, 2017
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
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An unpredictable, poignant, and captivating tale for readers of all ages, by the critically acclaimed author of Only Forward.
There are a million stories in the world. Most are perfectly ordinary.
This one… isn’t.
Hannah Green actually thinks her story is more mundane than most. But she’s about to discover that the shadows in her life have been hiding a world where nothing is as it seems: that there's an ancient and secret machine that converts evil deeds into energy, that some mushrooms can talk — and that her grandfather has been friends with the Devil for over a hundred and fifty years, and now they need her help.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.