I've finished reading 'Room'. It's a beautiful book balancing the almost macabre with the mundane. It follows the story of a boy brought up in a cellar with his mother who has been kidnapped. From the cellar to suncream, every detail is described with a delicate touch. The setting of a contained room allows a fascinating exploration of reality and language that runs parallel to the emotional intensity of the main storyline.

'Room' also faces a popular dilemma for writers. How do you write as a child? Literature is littered with highly critical reviews of children as first person narrators. It's difficult to remember how limited a child's vocabulary is at different life stages and also to consider how that would impact on their reasoning. Invariably the author will slip, either in word choice or self-awareness. 'The End of Everything' has a teenager as the central character then adds in the complication of making her an unreliable narrator, and using memory to smudge the timeline. Again, the use of a younger character means part of the reader will always be thinking 'is this accurate?' 'would someone of that age really say/think/do that?'

Knowing that the use of a younger narrator will mean your work is subjected to a different type of scrutiny is not a reason to avoid it. However, it's probably best to be aware that someone somewhere will criticise your narrator's word choice, points of reference or self-awareness. Unless, of course, you are Catherine o'Flynn. 'What was Lost' begins with a child's story and tells it with clarity and sincerity. It's a gorgeous opening as is the novel that follows. Accomplished, heartbreaking and haunting: it proves that writing as a child can be simple, succinct and extremely succesful.



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