When she moves a book in the forbdidden library, it releases a "sneezery of dust". How beautiful an image is that?
It unboundaries her.
Florence is a girl I love and fear, want to wrap in maternal arms and yet lock up for ever, counsel and yet constrain. She has wooed me with her fake innocenting. I dread on her behalf the moment when, wisdomed by age, she understands the truth of what she thought she was telling us. I still don't know how much she knew, so much pokery does she play with her words, so murky is her soul.
(From my Guardian review): "The Moth Diaries delves deeper into the neuroses and psyche of female adolescence than anything I've read. It is dark and dangerous, gothic, brutally revealing, regularly shocking and perfectly controlled. We know from the preface that the main character has 'borderline personality disorder complicated by depression and psychosis'. We know she recovers. That foreknowledge never weakens the story's grip.
“Set in 1960s America, it is the diary of an unnamed 16-year-old, who has been sent to a girls' boarding school after her father's suicide. Forget jolly hockey-sticks - this is no Malory Towers. It's a night-time world of obsession, passion, blood - and death. Every girl wallows in parental abandonment, clinging to friendships with a Sapphic intensity; food is friend and foe, to be gorged or rejected; life must be lived dangerously, with the need to risk death with self-starvation, drugs, suicide attempts, or crawling along gutters 100 feet up. Death does visit Brangwyn Hall several times. Is it bad luck, or is it caused by creepy Ernessa, the object of the diarist's jealous spite? Is Ernessa a vampire, or is this the melodramatic imagination of a psychotic and grieving girl? Does she really see Ernessa sucking blood from Lucy, or was she hallucinating? And is Lucy's increasing weakness simply caused by anorexia?”
DO go and see John Harding and Michelle Paver at the Edinburgh International Book Festival NEXT WEEK - Weds 17th August. Details and booking here.
John Harding talking about the book.
John reading the beginning.
John's website and blog.
The Times review.