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PSIPOOK | books | hawkes harbour, se hinton

darkness at tea time
Title: Hawkes Harbour
Author: SE Hinton
Publisher: Tor
Price: ¥1,449
ISBN: 0-330-43760-7

SE Hinton is well known for her earlier works, The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, Tex, That Was Then, This Is Now, all written for a younger audience. Hawkes Harbor is her first novel in 15 years and her first written for an adult audience, though the plot summary sounds like a kid’s tale of derring do, or a tale for big kids.

Jamie Sommers is a patient in a mental institution. He is a puzzling case, amnesiac and full of irrational but powerful fears — he is terrified of twilight for example. Doctor McDevitt is determined to get to the bottom of Jamie’s psychoses but the task is enormous.

Jamie has quite a history. He was born illegitimate, became an orphan and grew up as a streetwise survivor. He joined the navy, travelled the world, was nearly eaten by sharks, captured by pirates and all the other things you do at sea. Finally he is tricked into gun running for the IRA (the story is set in the sixties) by his best friend Kell Quinn, but the scheme goes pear shaped and they end up hiding in the small Delaware community of Hawkes Harbor. Here, Jamie survives by odd-jobbing for a rich family, the Hawkes, who gave their name to the town. The Hawkes fascinate Jamie with tales of hidden treasure and the island across the bay, which is a place you shouldn’t go. So of course Jamie goes there and whatever he finds drives him insane and tips the reader into a gothic world of the paranormal.

We are left clinging on, turning the pages rooting on Dr, Devitt in his search for Jamie’s mind and the resolution, if resolution is the word, could itself drive the reader barmy. Hawkes Harbor is a gripping yarn in the best tradition of horror stories.

Kansai Scene, January '06

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By the way, have you read Chris Page's novel Weed? It really is rather fantastic.

Words of praise for Weed from a publisher in London.

"... it’s really witty and very strong ... I would compare the writing to Robert Rankin, or a really satirically biting Tom Sharpe, and will say again that I’m really impressed by it"



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