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Thursday's Child Paperback – August 11, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Australian author Sonya Hartnett's Thursday's Child is a mysteriously hypnotic literary novel reminiscent of David Almond's dark and dreamy books. The Flute family of seven--including the lively, likeable 7-year-old girl narrator Harper--lives in an abandoned prospector's shack in rural Australia during the Great Depression on land that is "particularly exhausted or maybe simply sullen." With the trials of being undernourished, inadequately clothed, and without real prospects (not to mention a relentlessly crying new baby, a mean midwife, and two parents who seem incapable of improving the situation), there's plenty of reason for the Flute children to want to escape.

Younger brother Tin escapes his family--and his very humanity--into the earth. He is Thursday's child, "and so fated to his wanderings," which happen to be in an elaborate burrow system under the family's house from which he eventually doesn't return: "He was born to the task like a hare or one of those blind hairless moles that comes into the world itching to get its claws into the safety of the ground." The family's problems transcend the oddity of Tin's seemingly impossible existence, and so he is left, pale and wild, to his underground world.

Harper takes it all in, recounting stories of her family's heartbreak in colorful first-person narrative--whether it's about her Da's drinking and dreams, a baby tumbling into a well, or the horrors that befall her older sister at the hands of the sinister neighbor. Harper's cheerful-as-possible, child's-eye perspective and her slow demystification of the world around her form the heart of the story. Hartnett is a masterful writer and storyteller; this is a suspenseful, curiously optimistic, altogether riveting novel you'll want to read more than once. (Ages 15 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Set in the harsh mining outback of Australia during the Depression, Hartnett's (Sleeping Dogs) startling coming-of-age story combines narrator Harper Flute's grindingly realistic account of a family mired in poverty with a more surreal tale of her younger brother, Tin. Gifted with an uncanny ability to dig through the earth, Tin creates his own subterranean world that provides him both escape and a link to his struggling family. Through Harper, Hartnett captures the humanity of her spirited, slightly eccentric and then nearly broken characters as they survive a horrifying series of losses, only to be saved by a gift from the rarely seen Tin. In telling these events, Harper maintains a convincing and lyrical narrative voice, from her first appearance as a seven-year-old until the climax, when she approaches adulthood. She offers insightful and increasingly sophisticated observations: "As I grew older I was starting to realize the world is not one place, but two, and that you move from one to the other only with years." The haunting eloquence and dreamlike weaving of the mythic and the mundane invite comparisons to the works of David Almond. Ages 14-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (August 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763622036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763622039
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,174,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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on December 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
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on August 6, 2004
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