I love that feeling you get when you don’t remember that you’re reading. When you’re so captured by a book that you forget you’re reading the words. All you see is the descriptions and conversations that being to play out like a movie in your head. You don’t even think about it. Then before you know it, you’ve read 100 pages without realizing it. That’s probably the best feeling in the world.
I say to Wilf, still not looking up.
“Ah know,” Wilf says again. “But at’s what we’re callin ya.”
I look up to him. His face and his Noise are as blank as I remember but the lesson of forever and ever is that knowing a man’s mind ain’t knowing the man.
- The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness
“Day and night, following the army, getting round it, ahead of it, listening for rumours of a boy and girl traveling alone. And here you are and yer okay and I knew you would be. I knew it.” He sighs and there’s so much love and sadness in it. I know he’s about to say the truth. “But I’m a danger to you in New World.” He gestures at the bush we’re hiding in, hiding in like thieves. “Yer gonna have to make it the rest of the way alone.”
“I ain’t alone,” I say without thinking.
He smiles, but it’s still sad. “No,” he says. “No, you’re not, are ya?”
- Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go
For those who haven’t read it yet, you can read The New World for free here.
And for people like me, who can’t seem to explain this incredible trilogy without spoiling the whole thing, I usually just let my friends read this short story first instead of explaining to them what Chaos Walking is all about. :)
Patrick Ness, who has won this year’s prestigious Carnegie medal for his young adult novel Monsters of Men, used his acceptance speech to launch a scorching attack on the coalition government’s policy on libraries.
Deriding plans to staff libraries with volunteers as “a one-sentence, Big Society idea whose ramifications and consequences they haven’t even remotely considered”, Ness went on to attack the education secretary, Michael Gove, as “a man who races to the latest news about what a tragedy it is that three out of 10 children don’t own a book, yet utterly fails to see the irony of how closing libraries will affect not only the three who don’t, but the seven who do and who would like to read more and more and more.”
Ness, who described himself as a “child that libraries built”, praised the work of librarians. “Librarians open up the world,” he said. “Knowledge is useless if you don’t even know where to begin to look. How much more can you discover when someone can point you in the right direction, when someone can maybe even give you a treasure map, to places you may not have even thought you were allowed to go? This is what librarians do.”
Monsters of Men is the third instalment in Ness’s Chaos Walking series. The previous two books – The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer – were shortlisted for the Carnegie in 2009 and 2010 – the first time in the prize’s history that all the books in a series have been contenders.
The trilogy has been garlanded with numerous awards, from the Guardian children’s fiction prize to the Booktrust teenage prize, while Monsters of Men was shortlisted earlier this year for the Arthur C Clarke award, only the second young adult work to have been considered for the celebrated science fiction prize.
According to Ness, the spark for the final book came from watching All Quiet on the Western Front as a boy. “I was probably 14, and I was halfway through the film before I clocked the incredible fact that it’s about German soldiers … the so-called ‘enemy’,” he has said. “The worst thing we do in war is dehumanise our enemies, because that makes them easier to kill. But they stay human, no matter how much we want them not to. Monsters of Men came from wanting to explore that terrible, terrible contradiction. Wanting to dehumanise the enemy but being unable to; it’s about the ambiguity and messiness of war.”
Ferelith Hordon, chair of the Carnegie 2011 judging panel, called Monsters of Men an “extraordinary achievement”.
“Within its pages, Patrick Ness creates a complex other world, giving himself and the reader great scope to consider big questions about life, love and how we communicate, as well as the horrors of war, and the good and evil that mankind is capable of,” she said. “It’s an enthralling read that is well nigh impossible to put down,”
To finally win the Carnegie is “just brilliant”, Ness told the Guardian. “It’s an amazing list of winners to join. And it’s even more amazing when you really respect the people – librarians – who gave it to you. Winning is great, but the shortlisting is genuinely a good thing because the shadowing scheme [in which thousands of young readers shadow the judging and review the books] is a real moral good. To get all those young readers arguing about books is exciting,” he said.
“Yeah?” I say, putting her bag round my shoulders.
“Thank you,” she says.
“For coming after me.”
Everything’s gone still.
“Ain’t nothing,” I say, feeling my face get hot and looking away.
a horrible little while, for Manchee to find the scent again once we’re back in the woods but then he barks, “This way,” and we’re off again.
He’s a bloody good dog, have I said that?
- Todd Hewitt
|Todd:||You ain't won yet.|
|Aaron:||Haven't I? Come, Todd. Come to me with hate in yer heart.|
|Todd:||I will. I'll do it.|
|Aaron:||You've been near before, young Todd. In the swamp, the knife raised, me killing the girl, but no. You hesitate. You injure but you do not kill. And then I steal her from you and you hunt her down, as I knew you would, suffering from the wound I gave you, but again, not enough. You sacrifice yer beloved dog rather than see her come to harm, you let me break his very body rather than serve yer proper purpose.|
|Me:||YOU SHUT UP. YOU EFFIN' SHUT UP. DON'T YOU EVER TALK ABOUT MANCHEE LIKE THAT AGAIN.|