Luckily, Strangolov is something of a childhood friend of author Matt Whyman who has agreed to act as his literary executor, and so the book has been recently published in the UK, accompanied by creepy black and white illustrations and mind-boggling marginal comments. Set in a remote community on the edge of the threatening woods, Feather and Bone is told by Kamil, whose father has mysteriously disappeared one evening while walking Solace, the family’s dog. Kamil suspects this has something to do with the now disused chicken processing factory where his father, like all other adults in the community, used to work. The factory, owned by the local patron Mister Petri, had to shut down due to growing demand for free range chickens. Now the ‘Squawk Box’ stands deserted, surrounded by wire, in the middle of the woods.
But if it is really deserted, then what are the lights that Kamil and his friend Flori see there at night, and why do the rabbits in Flori’s traps keep exploding? How come Cosmina Barbescue gets extra food rations, while Miss Milea keeps losing fingers? Kamil and Flori set out to investigate in this excellent blood curdling ghost story. It is the chickens, however, who seem to have the all the answers...
Feather and Bone is an eerie fairytale not suitable for the faint of heart and stomach.
And don’t forget to check out Lazlo Strangolov’s blog for more clues and prophecies about doomsday.
Recommended by Noga Applebaum
- Chris Priestley’s collections of ghost stories Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror and Tales of Terror from the Black Ship are bone-chilling and clever with illustrations by David Roberts.
- Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, illustrated by Dave McKean, now also a major movie, is the story of a girl who opens the wrong door in her house - and did I mention the 'buttons for eyes' bit? Creepy, and so much fun.