Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of

The New Policeman

by Kate Thompson

Performed by Marcella Riordan

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The New Policeman

by Kate Thompson

performed by Marcella Riordan

Review posted January 18, 2011.
Recorded Books, 2007. 6 compact discs. 6.5 hours.
Starred Review
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2010: #1 Children's Fiction

I'd heard about this book for a long time, probably since it was first published. So, like so many other books I've been meaning to read but have never quite gotten around to, I decided to listen to it on my way to work.

I was completely enchanted. This book is all the more delightful on audio, because it is set in Ireland and has much about Irish music. So the narrator's Irish accent adds to the enjoyment, and I especially liked the Irish tunes played between each chapter. I only wish the library had the next two books in audio form. I found the book haunting me, and the Irish tunes made me feel transported to that world even as I drove through this mundane world to work.

The book is not what I expected. There's a new policeman in the Irish small town, but the story isn't so much about him. The story is more about J.J. Liddy, a 15-year-old in a family with a long heritage of being musicians.

Time is getting shorter and shorter. No one ever has enough. Because of that, people are expected not to waste time by playing music at all hours. J.J.'s mother says what she really wants for her birthday is more time, and J.J. decides to get it for her. He finds his way to the land of Tir na n'Og, the land of the ever-young, where time never passes and nothing ever changes, and the inhabitants are always ready to make music that lifts the heart like nothing from our world.

There are problems in Tir na n'Og, too. Time is actually passing. Extremely slowly, but it is passing. The sun is beginning to set. J.J. discovers there's a time leak. Time from our world is leaking into Tir na n'Og. It's bringing changes and eventual death to those people, and a horrid lack of time to our world. Can J.J. figure out how to stop the leak?

This book reminded me of the fabulous Momo, by Michael Ende. Both books have a magical explanation for the reason why the more you try to save time, the less you have. Both books have a child who can find out what's going on and save the world. Both books are definitely worth taking the time to read!

I do highly recommend listening to the audio version of this book. The Irish accents and the Irish music interludes make the experience completely captivating.