Sleepless Lullaby

I remember the machine by his bed. It made a sound like sighing. Numbers twitched, unable to settle. A jagged line sawed across the screen. At least it was something to look at. Something that wasn’t him. They’d brushed his hair, as if he were already dead. A song came into my head, I couldn’t chase it away. ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’. I pretended to smile, pretended to be brave. ‘Twin brother in a coma,’ I mouthed, ‘I know it’s serious.’ He would have laughed. He would have been better than me at this.


I’ve read a few Bernard Beckett books before. I knew what I was getting myself in for when I picked up his latest – Lullaby. I knew it would be ferociously clever, beautifully strange and an argument in itself against every ignoramus who believes YA is dumbed-down and one-dimensional.

I thought, as I turned the first page, that I was prepared …


I was not prepared because Lullaby is – more than any of Beckett’s other work – a COMPLETE AND UTTER EARTHQUAKE OF A MENTAL FREAKOUT CRAZY WILD AND BRILLIANT OH MY STARS EXPLOSION OF EVERYTHING.


That’s really all I have for you. Because I don’t think – a week on – I have come even close to mentally processing this novel. The night after I read it, I didn’t sleep (not unusual), but (unusually), it was only partly because of a sleepless child and a psychotic cat. It was mostly because TOO MUCH BRAIN.

This novel will hurt your mind, I promise. It will leave you staring dumbly at the last page with your mouth open and possibly there might be drool or tears or both or there might even be some rocking in the corner.

Have I made myself clear?

Lili Wilkinson, I am relying on you to heal me with another one of your no-less-clever-but-hopefully-more-quirky-and-less-GAH books.

Green Valentine, here I come.

And, oh, everyone, in case the above in any way terrified you, you should totally read Lullaby. It will shake you but it’s so worth it.

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