Author(s): Russell Hoban
Alexis Deacon, brilliant illustrator of Russell Hoban's final masterpiece, Soonchild, now reimagines Russell's touching story about a boy in hospital, who dreams wild and extraordinary dreams as he faces a life-saving operation. Jim is in hospital. He's frightened. What if the doctors send him somewhere that he can't find his way back from? Nurse Bami tells Jim that he must go to his "good place" and there, his "finder" will come looking for him. Everyone has a finder. And so, deep in Jim's dreams, he finds his: a lion. In Soonchild, Russell Hoban's final piece of fiction before he died, Alexis Deacon met the spirit and wit of Hoban's vision head-on - brilliantly capturing the dark magic that lay at the heart of this fable. Since then, it feels almost impossible to imagine a better match for Hoban's words than Alexis' art. Illustrated throughout, Alexis reimagines the rousing story of Jim's Lion into a truly stunning, life-affirming and creatively inspired graphic novel. This book is jacketed.
A boy is seriously ill in hospital, and fearful of the operation that may or may not save his life. A nurse tells him he must find in his dreams his animal ‘finder’, which will protect him and bring him back from wherever his illness and the doctors take him. In dream and in delirium, and wherever the mind goes when under anaesthetic, Jim and his lion help each other overcome a series of symbolic entities and dangers, mapping out for us a kind of understory to the clinically observable disease and treatment. Some of Jim’s experiences reminded me of when I was once delirious with fever and ‘saw’ the disease I was subject to as a vast crystalline being looming in the corner of the room. Hoban’s poetic story of illness overcome has been wonderfully captured and extended by Deacon’s powerful and imaginative illustrations, which construct, out of ludicrous and frightening fragments, a picture of a young mind grappling at the deepest level with agents that seek its extinction. Hoban and Deacon first collaborated on the memorable Soonchild, the last book Hoban wrote before his death in 2011. - Thomas
"Praise for Soonchild: "This magical tale from a master storyteller is highly readable and full of imagination... The stunning illustrations by Alexis Deacon are as important to the telling of the story as the text, and this book will truly delight both children and adult alike." (We Love This Book)"
Russell Hoban was the renowned author of many famous novels, including Turtle Diary (which was made into a film starring Ben Kingsley and Glenda Jackson) and Riddley Walker, which won the John W. Campbell Award for science fiction. He also wrote over 50 children's books, including such classics as The Mouse and His Child, Bedtime for Frances, How Tom Beat Captain Najork and The Sea-Thing Child. Born in Pennsylvania in 1925, he moved to London in 1969, and spent the rest of his life there. Alexis Deacon's first picture book Slow Loris was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award. His second Beegu was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award and selected by the New York Times as one of the year's best illustrated children's books. In 2008, he was chosen as one of the Booktrust's ten Best New Illustrators. About illustrating Jim's Lion, Alexis says, "I wanted the reader to see the choices Jim makes in his dreams. Will he turn and run or will he keep on walking?" Alexis lives in London, SE15.