I've just finished reading Infinite Sky by C.J.Flood and it is a beautiful, sad, real and tragic story. It is C.J.Flood's first novel after just graduating from a Creative Writing MA and I predict that we will be hearing a lot more from her.
To start with, it has a beautifully designed cover showing the ears of corn in the field that feature so dominantly through the story and the swooping swallows that reappear at the top of each chapter heading. An epigram from 'i thank You God for most this amazing day' by the poet E.E.Cummings shows the reader where C.J.Flood drew her title from.
The story itself is one of the truest I have read in a while. By that I mean her honesty with the use of language. It is truly the voice of teenagers and parents, teenagers between themselves, brothers and sisters; there is no fluffy pretty talk here, just the true voice of fourteen year old Iris as she comes to terms with the reality of how parents are not perfect, how big brothers you adore can change, how your best friend can suddenly seem not much of a friend at all and most of all, how you can be attracted to a boy who everyone else sees one way but you know what he is really like.
This Romeo-and-Juliet tale puts together a girl from a farm and a Traveller whose family arrive and set down in the adjacent field. Full of all the prejudice and terms flung at this community, it is Iris who understands the idea of Travellers and sees the good in Trick and his family as her family and the other teenagers use terms like 'Gypo' and 'Pikelet'.
It is a story that will appeal to the young gen readers but it is also a story for all readers, a story that makes you sit up and think and possibly even a story that might make you cry. I for one am glad that I have come across this young author and look forward to following her developments.
Infinite Sky is published by Simon and Schuster www.simonandschuster.co.uk