In the summer of 2007 The Hitchcock Blonde was re-reading her ” favourite childhood authors: Rosemary Sutcliff, Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, Ursula LeGuin. Along with Wolf Brother, they share certain themes: the buildungsroman grail quest, the primacy of animals and nature, the value of a sharply sensed moment in a great sweep of time and place. They are properly epic, humbling and exhilerating.
But above all, these tales are rolled out in a cool, deep river of action. There is so little self-indulgence, because kids are the most exacting, most selfish readers. They have no time for a book written to please anyone but themselves, certainly not an author or a critic. Awkwardness is too familiar and raw a feeling at that age to want to grapple with it in books. Pain, yes, ambiguity, yes, but not wanking about with words.