September 17, 2017

Of Alchemy, Flight and Healing: Macky Reads The White Tower

The White Tower book cover
This book. It's like if a British storyteller wrote a Studio Ghibli story. I’m throwing Ghibli on the table as a reference because I honestly cannot find a better peg to describe The White Tower. The whimsy, the magic, the poignancy, the very big beating heart at the center of this tale - the whole time I was seeing this as a Ghibli film, subtitled in English and played out completely in Japanese. That extra special corner of fiction where Miyazaki films live… that’s where I believe The White Tower belongs.

And why not? Threaded throughout the unravelling of the mysteries behind The White Tower is the heart of a little girl recovering from grief. Livy, our main character is fresh from the loss of her best friend, holding desperately onto her memory and the innocent superstitions that children (and many times grown-ups) feel they need to cope.

If there is anything clunky or out of place I found about this story it would be best described as things lost in translation from Ghibli film to English book format, and even that doesn’t even take away from Cathryn Constable’s writing. Personally, I’m not always the biggest fan of how the book is paced (and having read her previous book The Wolf Princess, I feel it’s more her pacing style I’m not acclimatizing to). But again, that takes nothing away from the story itself.

The world that Cathryn Constable builds, the magic she is able to thread through our current reality (what with both her books set in modern times but with subtle fantastical elements woven in), is nothing short of exquisite. I personally like The White Tower better than The Wolf Princess but that in no way diminishes her two for two success rate in creating modern fairytale fantasies that are so unique and moving.

The White Tower by Cathryn Constable
Publisher: Chicken House | Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Source: ARC from BEA 2017 (Thanks!)


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