January 30th, 2014

family, child

January Books 17) With The Light vol 6, by Keiko Tobe

It took me ages to track down the sixth volume of this manga series about bringing up an autistic child in contemporary Japan, but it was worth waiting for. Here, Hikaru has started to hit puberty, and has to be dissuaded from touching himself or pretty women inappropriately; family and school dynamics continue to be a strain; and we get sidetracked for a couple of diversions, when his father attracts too devoted an admirer at work and a couple of his classmates come to terms with their own fannish obsessions. But the core narrative remains sound, of Hikaru and his mother Sachiko dealing with a world which has not been designed for his needs, and doing the best they can. I have the next volume ready to read.
earthsea

January Books 18) Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch

Views on this book were mixed in my what-to-read-in-2014 poll, but I have to say I rather enjoyed it. Like Paul Cornell's London Falling, which I read this time last year, it has contemporary London police being caught up in a world of eldritch horror; but it scored for me in the central character's continuing self-doubt, not so much about whether he wants to be a policeman caught up in the occult, but about whether he wants to be a policeman at all; and in the clever invocation of a well-known folk tale which is stunningly revealed about halfway through. The personified rivers themselves (Fleet, Tyburn, Beverley Brook) are a brilliant concept, and the London streetscapes convincingly envisaged. I will definitely go get the sequels now.