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PublisherBloomsbury Publishing PLC
Suitable for AgesFeatured Books for 14+ readers
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Publication date3rd January 2013
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Julia Eccleshare's comment:
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013
January 2013 Debut of the Month Survival is at the heart of the criss-crossing stories in this powerful time slip novel set in Haiti. Shorty, fifteen and living in desperate poverty in Site Solay, is trapped in rubble after the collapse of everything he knows in the Haitian earthquake. Dreaming and hallucinating as hunger and thirst take a grip, Shorty relives his own life and also travels back to a previous violent period in Haitian history when Toussaint l’Ouverture, the visionary real slave turned revolutionary led a revolt against the French occupying forces gaining control and freedom for the Haitians. Both stories are stirring and Nick Lake keeps the tension taut while also allowing his characters enough room to be convincing and moving.Who is Julia Eccleshare ?
SynopsisIn Darkness by Nick Lake
In darkness, I count my blessings like Manman taught me. One: I am alive. Two: there is no two. In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, a boy is trapped beneath the rubble of a ruined hospital, thirsty, terrified and alone. Shorty is a child of the slums, a teenage boy who has seen enough violence to last a lifetime, and who has been inexorably drawn into the world of the gangsters who rule Site Soley; men who dole out money with one hand and death with the other. But Shorty has a secret: a flame of revenge that blazes inside him and a burning wish to find the twin sister he lost seven years ago ...
A vivid and unforgettable voice ... incredibly moving The Times
Unputdownable Daily Mail
Gripping ... beautifully subtle New York Times Both violent and subtle, unexpectedly reminding me of The Wire. Characters, settings, and the half-believed Haitian vodou religion are handled with patience and complexity ... A serious, nuanced, challenging novel. Trust me, there are plenty of young readers who hunger for exactly that Patrick Ness, Guardian
Remarkable ... Lake's elegant, restrained prose and distinct characters will reward adults and older teenagers able to brave a story with strong language, harrowing scenes of brutality and an almost painful stab of joy at the end Wall Street Journal
About The Author
Nick Lake is 29 years old and a children's book editor at HarperCollins. He lives in London with his English teacher wife, Hannah.
Nick Lake Q&A:
Student, and then book editor. Which I still am.
Being a book editor. No one told me at school that there was a job where you got paid for being a fan of writers and writing.
High school and/or college:
I went to High School in Luxembourg, and I went to Oxford University after that for a degree and then a fairly pointless masters. In phonetics, of all things.
Name of your favourite composer or music artist?
I usually lie and go for something clever like Vertigo. But really it's True Romance.
How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
I would use the word "busy" eight times.
What is your motto or maxim?
To paraphrase the existentialists - life is what you make it. Which amounts to a practical kind of karma, I suppose.
How would you describe perfect happiness?
A fire, a good chair and a new Stephen King book. Or the moment the soundchecks finish and the band take to the stage. Or sunset on the mountains, with weary feet, and the lights of a pub ahead. Or the sound of a breakbeat. Or a very sweet tea, anywhere in the Middle East, at any time of day.
What’s your greatest fear?
Not being good.
Which living person do you most admire?
Haruki Murakami. Stephen King. Anyone who works for Medecins sans Frontieres or Amnesty International.
What are your most overused words or phrases?
If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
The abillity to play a musical instrument well. Also, the ability to speak all languages fluently.
What is your greatest achievement?
Meeting my wife.
If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
I wouldn't mind being Simon Cowell. I could make The X-Factor go away. Not to mention R&B flavoured pop music.
What trait is most noticeable about you?
I have no idea. My hair? It's usually quite big, because I keep forgetting to have it cut. I look like the freakish son of Tom Hanks and David Hasselhoff.
Who is your favourite fictional hero?
Who is your favourite fictional villain?
Steerpike. (Also hero.)
If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
I'd like to meet Shakespeare and I'd ask him how to write better.
What is your favourite occupation, when you’re not writing?
Reading? Actually probably sleeping, to be honest.
What’s your fantasy profession?
Bestselling and universally admired author.
What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
Compassion. Empathy. Humour.
If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
Chocolate, in any form.
What are your 5 favourite songs?
Hmmm. "Beat It"; "Here, There and Everywhere" by the Beatles; "U-Mass" by the Pixies; "Heartbeat" by Annie and "Etched Headplate" by Burial
On Books and Writing:
Who are your favourite authors?
Haruki Murakami. Stephen King. Neil Gaiman. Margaret Atwood. Joan Didion. Ismail Kadare. Philip Reeve. Philip Pullman. Meg Rosoff.
What are your 5 favourite books of all time?
Tough one. I guess... Middlemarch; Coraline; For Whom the Bell Tolls; the collected works of Shakespeare... and Little, Big, by John Crowley - the single most unfairly overlooked, beautiful, miraculous and magical book I know.
Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
I wouldn't presume to think of myself as someone anyone might look to for advice! But I suppose I'd tell them to read as much as possible, in as many genres as possible.
What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
"You're very... imaginative aren't you." I think they mean I'm strange.
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