Australian author Glenda Millard is highly respected for her work in her home country and deserves to be as well-known and respected in the UK. Old Barn Books are releasing her works to a wider audience and the stars at oktober bend had me wowed.
‘Alice Nightingale writes about how it is to have perfect thoughts that come out in slow, slurred speech. She imagines herself stepping into clear midair with wings made of words and feathers.
Manny James runs at night, trying to escape memories of his past. He sees Alice on the roof of her river-house, looking like a figurehead on a ship sailing through the stars. He has a poem in his pocket and he knows the words by heart. He is sure that the girl has written them.
Alice longs to be everything a fifteen-year-old girl can be. And when she sees the running boy she is anchored to the earth by her desire to see him again.’
Glenda Millard’s writing is beautiful. Evocative and lyrical, the stars at oktober bend explores the healing power of creativity and hope and the importance of family – however it is formed.
Alice and Manny are both survivors. Alice from a violent assault and Manny from war in his home country. Both are learning to live and trust again and to move on from the guilt they feel over the loss of their families. Despite the premise, this book sings of hope. It is in the poems Alice writes, the intricate fishing flies she makes from feathers, and in the way trust develops friendships into family. the stars at oktober bend opens our eyes to the darkness in the world – and feels very relevant in these times of Trump – but it also shines a light. In the words of Alice, ‘if we let cowards stop us living the way we want to, we let them win.’
A special mention, too, for Ruth Grüner’s stunning cover design which manages to echo the book perfectly.
Old Barn Books are releasing a further novel by Glenda Millard. Keep your eyes open for A Small Free Kiss in the Dark this summer.
Source – bought from my lovely local indie bookshop, Bags of Books in Lewes.