A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
The literary market is currently exploding with new sci-fi-, horror-, and dystopia fiction mixed with elements from Gothic fiction. And one could wonder; why the attraction? Could it be because literature brings millions of worlds with it, so it might work as a form of escapism?
Naturally contemporary fiction varies from earlier literary works. The language is modernized and elements from modern culture such as smartphones, computers and Facebook are now allowed to be included, but it is interesting to see how old myths still keep appearing in literature and movies. Earlier mythological creatures, such as vampires, werewolves and monsters were portrayed as horrible and evil, while they are now glamourized, beautiful and unique. It is a new element that a character in a book can be a monster and at the same time have magical features, for example: knowing the future, or being able to use their monster status as something good, instead of mainly being destructive.
An interesting contemporary literary piece is definitely Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls (2011) that deals with a boy and his goodbye to his sick mother, and how he must adjust himself to the idea and reality of death. This novel mixes both good and evil within the boy and in the surrounding world, here representing cancer and the death of his beloved mother. Every night a monster shows itself outside of the boy’s window, and every morning the boy has the feeling that something has happened, although he does not remember anything. He only sees the broken furniture in the living room. There are many elements which could be inspired from classic literature, e.g. Frankenstein; elements as the darkness, the monster, the black-outs and the different emotions seen in the boy (the good representing Victor Frankenstein and the bad representing the monster).
“Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth”.
With a Freudian interpretation, it is almost too easy to see the id and the suppressed ego within the boy. But eventually, it is a typical novel in fairy tale style, where the hero or the heroine must overcome an obstacle in order to find the light in a world filled with darkness.
“”Stories don’t always have happy endings”. This stopped him. Because they didn’t, did they? That’s one thing the monster had definitely taught him. Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn’t expect”.
This novel truly haunted me in every way. It was beautiful, tragic and terrifying, but I LOVED IT! This is a really great modern piece of literature which makes it impossible for the reader to ever forget about it. Realizing and accepting are crucial bits of human life, but sometimes it seems impossible. I’m sure that the truth of this novel will tear you apart, as it did me.