Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Fire-Eaters, by David Almond, 2004

World War II is a recent memory for Bobby Burns' father, a British veteran who fought in Burma, and he believes mankind would never again be so stupid as to start another world war. 13-year old Bobby, living in Keely Bay, a coal town in northern England, in 1962, isn't so sure as he sees Kennedy and Kruschev on the nightly news, and watches the Bay of Pigs crisis unfold. McNulty, a shellshocked Burma veteran turned escapologist and fire-breather that Bobby meets on a daytrip to Newcastle puts a living human face on some of war's costs, while Bobby's new friend Daniel shows what to fight for at an abusive parochial school. Poignant and hopeful, lovely in its telling, strongly recommended.

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