THE TIGHTROPE WALKERS

David Almond

A gentle visionary coming of age in the shadow of the shipyards of northern England, Dominic Hall is torn between extremes. On the one hand, he craves the freedom he feels when he steals away with the eccentric girl artist next door, Holly Stroud—his first and abiding love—to balance above the earth on a makeshift tightrope. With Holly, Dom dreams of a life different in every way from his shipbuilder dad’s, a life fashioned of words and images and story. On the other hand, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the brutal charms of Vincent McAlinden, a complex bully who awakens something wild and reckless and killing in Dom.

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A gentle visionary coming of age in the shadow of the shipyards of northern England, Dominic Hall is torn between extremes. On the one hand, he craves the freedom he feels when he steals away with the eccentric girl artist next door, Holly Stroud—his first and abiding love—to balance above the earth on a makeshift tightrope. With Holly, Dom dreams of a life different in every way from his shipbuilder dad’s, a life fashioned of words and images and story. On the other hand, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the brutal charms of Vincent McAlinden, a complex bully who awakens something wild and reckless and killing in Dom. In a raw and beautifully crafted bildungsroman, David Almond reveals the rich inner world of a boy teetering on the edge of manhood, a boy so curious and open to impulse that we fear for him and question his balance—and ultimately exult in his triumphs.

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  • Candlewick Press
  • Paperback
  • November 2015
  • 336 Pages
  • 0763691046

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$9.99

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About David Almond

David Almond has received several major awards, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award, a Carnegie Medal, two Whitbread Children’s Book Awards, an Eleanor Farjeon Award, and a Michael L. Printz Award. He is known worldwide as the author of Skellig, Clay, and many other novels, stories, and plays. With Candlewick, he is the author of The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean as well as The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers; The Savage, Slog’s Dad, and Mouse Bird Snake Wolf, all illustrated by Dave McKean; and My Dad’s a Birdman and The Boy Who Climbed Into the Moon, both illustrated by Polly Dunbar. David Almond lives in England.

Praise

A tour de force. … The novel is by turns reminiscent of classic bildungsromans such as the Billy Elliott film, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Stephen King’s IT, yet it retains a distinctive heart and voice of its own. … An absolute must-have.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

“The award-winning Almond poetically plumbs the depths of his 1950s and ’60s childhood to explore themes of violence, war, God, creativity, beauty, death, art, the soul, our animal selves, whether we ever grow up or can really know each other…in short, life.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In a powerfully realistic bildungsroman from award-winning author Almond (The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean), Dominic Hall, the son of a working man from Newcastle, seems destined for greater success than was possible for his ill-educated and often angry father…. Almond’s characteristic penetrating writing and finely drawn characters are on full display in a story more fully grounded in a specific and important historical moment than anything he has published heretofore.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

??“Some books stand out for their characters, others for their sense of place, and some for their stories and themes. Almond has a facility for all those elements. The two most sharply drawn characters here are Vincent, as polluted as the Tyne but a force of nature nonetheless, and, rather surprisingly, Mr. Hall…. Teens will feel the events most viscerally—the brutishness, the love, the rejections. Adults, meanwhile, will bring their own world-weary self-knowledge, which cuts in its own way. Wild and reckless, heartbreaking and hopeful—this elegy on life is not to be missed.” —Booklist (starred review)