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By Isobelle Carmody

(1 customer review)


One wakeful night in the aftermath of his mother’s death, Jack enters a land devoid of colour or scent. Here he meets the tragic laughing beast and Alice, a strange girl with a secret.

Will Jack escape before the terrifying wolvers find him?
Or is he destined to be trapped in the Greylands forever?
Only the cats know . . .

Cover designed by Grant Gittus.

  • ISBN:9781921665677
  • Publication date:1 October 2012
  • Extent:189
  • Format:Paperback
  • Genre:
  • Age guide: , 12+

1 review for Greylands

  1. Jenny Mounfield

    It has been a week since I finished Greylands, but I’ve dithered over writing a review because, frankly, I fear nothing I say will do this book justice.

    After the death of his mother, Jack falls into a mirror and finds himself in the greylands where colour, scent and feeling don’t exist. Even sound is a mere reflection of itself. Jack meets a girl he calls, Alice—a girl full of secrets who guards a curious bundle. Before he can learn more, the terrifying wolvers hunt them down and they must flee. According to Alice, the wolvers will always find Jack because he is filled with wanting.

    Bouncing back and forth between our world and the greylands—a realm only the wounded can enter—Jack becomes increasingly concerned with how he will ever hope to stay permanently in the real world. Perhaps if he finds the source of his wanting, he’ll be able to get on with his life. Much about the greylands is alluring, but he can’t abandon his sister, Ellen, or their father, who has become a shell of his former self since his wife’s passing. Alice is on a quest to take her mysterious bundle to the grey tower. Still not knowing how to leave the greylands at will, Jack offers to escort her, not realising the role the tower has played in his own life.

    First published in 1997 by Penguin, and winner of an Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel, Greylands is a story within a story about death, fear, love, loss and all things magical. To call this seemingly simple, yet complex work a story, almost feels wrong. It’s more alive than that. More fundamental.

    In her own words, Carmody explains her inspiration in the book’s Forward:

    ‘I chose the subject because I was, and am, haunted by the surreal world I entered when I was a child after my father died in a car accident—the feeling that the world had been wrenched out of joint and that nothing worked the way it had before.’

    Apart from the obvious, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Greylands put me in mind of Pan’s Labyrinth. While the stories are vastly different, they both have a grieving child at their core. So, too, Alice’s quest for the grey tower has shades of Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series. Rich with symbolism and emotion, Greylands is a treat for the soul that will never grow old.

    On a final note, I must share this gem of wisdom on the subject of stories (Jack to his sister, Ellen— p188):

    ‘ “…stories are like mirrors. When you look in them you see yourself. It turns into your story, no matter who wrote it. And there’s lots of stories in every story.” ’

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