My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This eccentric, rather vividly compelling book is something that I think will mark its space very distinctly in the world. I’ve come across Edge before, most notably with his richly layered Twelve Minutes To Midnight series – Twelve Minutes to Midnight, and when Nosy Crow sent me a copy of The Many Worlds of Albie Bright I was very intrigued to see what it was all about.
Albie’s mum has passed away and he’s trying to figure out where she’s gone. His father, a scientist – as was his mother, doesn’t have any answers other than a vague ‘quantum physics’ and ‘parallel universes’ so Albie decides to find things out for himself. With the help of a box, a laptop and a rotting banana, Albie manages to fall out of one world and into the next and begin the process of finding his mother.
I liked this a lot; I had some concerns about the initial few chapters where a lot of scientific information is shared with the reader. But here’s the thing: it’s necessary information and handled well and once it’s done, the story soars away into some very moving and deftly constructed spaces. If recommending this to easily intimidated readers (and you totally should – I’ve not read anything quite like this that weaves quantum physics with grief and loss), they may need some support and encouragement through those initial few chapters.
The Many Worlds of Albie Bright is a gloriously eccentric and individualistic beast. I do love the individuality of so many titles from Nosy Crow and Albie Bright is no exception. It’s one that I think would sit well with those children firmly rooted in non-fiction, because there’s a lot here that has that same tonal precision. It is a very exact book, as it has to be when dealing with scientific things, I think, and there’s something rather delicious about pushing that precise tone against the raw, ragged edge of love and grief and loss.
The Many Worlds of Albie Bright is due out on January 16th. It’s one to hoard those post Christmas book tokens for, I think.