Published by Quirk
Vintage Photos from Collections listed
A most peculiar book, monsters and shadows, are they all based on Jacob's grandfather's fears as a Jewish child in Poland pre-WWII and the only one of his family to survive? He was sent to an orphanage on an island in Wales in the earliest part of the war. But according to Jacob's grandpa, this was no ordinary home. This, Ransom Riggs' first novel, grows on you as you read. There are several vintage photographs to go along with the stories Jacob has heard all his life of the wonderful and unique home, the safe place. The children most certainly have special abilities one could call peculiar, but Jacob is not sure how much to believe now that he is in his teens. Stories of circus acts, stories of terrible monsters, can they possibly be real? Some very strange things can turn out to be real and some that seem real are not to be believed.
When his grandfather dies a horrible death and Jacob catches a glimpse of what he has only heard of before, he begins to suspect there is more to the stories. With his last breath, his grandfather cryptically tells him to go to the island, so he can be "safe", and gives him a date: September 3, 1940.
So begins this incredible journey where reality and unreality meet head on. If it weren't for Jacob's father's compulsive interest in Ornithology, and the island noted for its birds, the journey might never have begun. It's on the island where the story really takes on a life of its own. A story of lightness and darkness, magic and horror, atmospheric, a life that only Jacob appears to see. Ransom Riggs will entertain you, transfix you, make you think a bit about spatial displacement, where seemingly ordinary children can be truly extraordinary (especially if one is invisible) and everything you thought was a fairy-tale of ogres and monsters in the woods can be true. I really enjoyed this wonderfully strange journey into the author's imagination... or is it all true...
Copies of authentic Vintage Photos used in this novel and provided from various Collections are listed in the back of the book attributed to the Collectors where known. These photos spread throughout the book provide a real backbone to the story.