Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Goblin by Ever Dundas
Goblin is an outcast girl growing up in London during World War Two. She witnesses a brutal and shocking event that pushes her into creating and living in her own imaginary world. She gathers a menagerie around her, made up of real animals (including Groo the cat who grooms all the other animals, and the very characterful Corporal Pig) and invented creatures (including Monsta, created from bits and pieces and brought to life with Goblin's blood).
Goblin wanders London, using the fact that she looks like a boy (and allowing people to think she is a boy!) to get away with things that girls back then couldn't get away with.
She runs away to the circus where she finds adoptive parents and a community of misfits who she (most of the time) fits in with. She travels Europe with the circus, having relationships with men and women (she's refreshingly matter of fact about her bisexuality) and settles in Venice, where she hopes eventually to be reunited with her brother who she hasn't seen since childhood.
In a parallel story running through the novel, Goblin now old, is working in a library in Edinburgh and trying to avoid confronting the upsetting trauma from her childhood.
Will Goblin find her brother? Will she be able to give up her imaginary world and learn to live fully in the real world? Will she be able to confront and come to terms with her trauma?
This is a wonderfully imaginative and beautifully written debut novel.
Goblin by Ever Dundas published by Saraband.