Monday, December 5, 2011

Departure Time

Kirkus Review starred (July 1, 2010)

In this debut novel, two seemingly unrelated stories merge into a poignant journey from anger to acceptance. In one story, a girl arrives at a derelict hotel operated by a fox and a rat. Unable to remember anything, she hears familiar piano music and discovers torn pieces of paper. In the second story, a father promises his daughter, Mouse, he'll be home for her 11th birthday. When he can't be there, Mouse writes a letter saying he's a lousy father, not realizing she'll never see him again. Since his death, Mouse has tried to forget her father and the angry letter, but she can't keep it up much longer. Matti alternates between the third-person story of the girl in the hotel gradually piecing bits of paper and her life together with Mouse's touching first-person memories of her father, who coincidentally had written her a story about a fox, a rat, a girl and a strange hotel. Initially perplexing and surreal, the narrative's juxtaposition of fantasy and reality eventually blends beautifully in the convincing conclusion. (Fiction. 10 & up)

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