Lanny A novel

Max Porter

Book - 2019

"Not far from London, there is a village. This village belongs to the people who live in it and to those who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England's mysterious past and its confounding present. It belongs to Mad Pete, the grizzled artist. To ancient Peggy, gossiping at her gate. To families dead for generations, and to those who have only recently moved here. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort who has woken from his slumber in the woods. Dead Papa Toothwort, ...who is listening to them all. Chimerical, audacious, strange and wonderful - a song to difference and imagination, to friendship, youth and love, Lanny is the globally anticipated new novel from Max Porter."--Publisher's description.

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Paranormal fiction
Minneapolis, MN : Graywolf Press 2019.
Item Description
Originally published: London : Faber & Faber, 2019.
Physical Description
213 pages ; 21 cm
Main Author
Max Porter (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* The much anticipated second novel by Porter (Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, 2016) delivers quite the punch with its combination of unlikely effervescence, authentic emotion, and literary exploration. Deliberate without being obvious, Porter explores the scope of the storytelling tradition in this tale of an unnamed, present-day English village in commuting distance from London. Dead Papa Toothwort, a folkloric figure in the mode of the ancient figure of the Green Man, is tuned into the lives of the villagers and provides a mythical stratum to the suspenseful plot about a missing boy, the titular Lanny. Alternating the points of view of Lanny's parents, Jolie and Robert, and the village art teacher, "Mad Pete," Porter builds a complex but eminently readable story in which he considers the nature of trust, parenting, and community. The author's deftness in rendering typical contemporary reactions to the situation while also delving into the past and the imagination reveals the depth of human life and the fine line between the mystical and the everyday. Porter has created both an entertaining tale and a novel of exceptionally creative experimentation and genre extension. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Winner of the International Dylan Thomas Prize (among other honors), Porter's Grief Is the Thing with Feathers was one remarkable debut—astute, gorgeous, and original. In this evidently worthy follow-up, also touched with the fantastical, the mythical figure of Dead Papa Toothwort awakens in a typical English village and looks about for a particularly promising lad named Lanny. Smart readers shouldn't miss. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

A wood spirit known as Papa Toothwort hovers over a village outside of London, surveying the passing scene while snatches of conversation swirl around him. Observing everything with folksy humor, he takes particular interest in Lanny, a curious young boy who lives with his mother, a former actress now at home writing thrillers, and his Dad, who works as an asset manager in the city. To encourage Lanny's creative bent, Mum arranges lessons for him with their neighbor, "Mad Pete," whose glory days as an avant-garde artist are mostly in the past and who's viewed as dodgy by his fellow villagers. The unlikely friendship that blossoms between the old eccentric and the young boy troubles the nosy neighbors. So when tragedy strikes, it comes as no surprise that Pete is first to fall under suspicion. However, it isn't long before Lanny's parents, village outsiders, are also considered suspect. VERDICT This imaginative novel starts off dreamily, picks up speed, and races to a propulsive conclusion. A guaranteed edge-of-your-seat read. [See Prepub Alert, 11/26/18.]—Barbara Love, formerly with Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont. Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In his bold second novel, Porter (Grief Is the Thing with Feathers) combines pastoral, satire, and fable in the entrancing tale of a boy who vanishes from an idyllic British village in the present day. Lanny is an elfin, perpetually singing child "more obviously made of the same atoms as the earth than most people these days seem to be." He is a mystery to his parents, recent transplants to the picturesque, increasingly fashionable (and expensive) town: the mother is a former actress working on a gruesome novel, and the father's a yuppie commuting to London. Lanny's somewhat cloying eccentricity ("Which do you think is more patient, an idea or a hope?") captivates a reclusive artist, "Mad Pete," who gives him drawing lessons, and enchants Dead Papa Toothwort, the town's ancient and resilient presiding spirit: " build new homes, cutting into his belt, and he pops up adapted, to scare and define." Toothwort is a mischievous, Green Man–esque deity who prowls the village "chew the noise of the place" and especially enjoys feasting on Lanny's song. When Lanny goes missing, the suspicion falls on Mad Pete, and the resulting media blitz turns the village into a "hideous ecosystem of voyeurism," exposing its rifts and class resentments. In the novel's satisfying conclusion, Toothwort stages a hallucinatory play that reveals Lanny's fate. This is a dark and thrilling excavation into a community's legend-packed soil. (May) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A follow-up to the prizewinning Grief Is the Thing with Feathers follows the awakening of a mythical being in a London village, where he observes the domestic dramas and creative energies surrounding a mischievous, ethereal young newcomer.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Follows the awakening of a mythical being in an English village, where he observes the domestic dramas and creative energies surrounding a mischievous, ethereal young newcomer.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Longlisted for the 2019 Booker PrizeAn entrancing new novel by the author of the prizewinning Grief Is the Thing with FeathersThere’s a village an hour from London. It’s no different from many others today: one pub, one church, redbrick cottages, some public housing, and a few larger houses dotted about. Voices rise up, as they might anywhere, speaking of loving and needing and working and dying and walking the dogs. This village belongs to the people who live in it, to the land and to the land’s past.It also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, a mythical figure local schoolchildren used to draw as green and leafy, choked by tendrils growing out of his mouth, who awakens after a glorious nap. He is listening to this twenty-first-century village, to its symphony of talk: drunken confessions, gossip traded on the street corner, fretful conversations in living rooms. He is listening, intently, for a mischievous, ethereal boy whose parents have recently made the village their home. Lanny.With Lanny, Max Porter extends the potent and magical space he created in Grief Is the Thing with Feathers. This brilliant novel will ensorcell readers with its anarchic energy, with its bewitching tapestry of fabulism and domestic drama. Lanny is a ringing defense of creativity, spirit, and the generative forces that often seem under assault in the contemporary world, and it solidifies Porter’s reputation as one of the most daring and sensitive writers of his generation.