Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Wind on the Moon, by Eric Linklater

Staff Review by Chris Saliba

Eric Linklater's 1944 children's novel The Wind on the Moon mixes fantasy and nonsense into a perfect mix. If you're a fan of classics like The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, then you'll find plenty to enjoy in this wonderful story.

Here’s a fun discovery. Until recently, I knew nothing about this novel and its author, Eric Linklater. Linklater wrote many novels and a lot of non-fiction. He also wrote two novels for children during his busy life, The Pirates in the Deep Green Sea (1949) and The Wind on the Moon (1944). 

Dinah and Dorinda

The story is about two young girls, Dinah and Dorinda. Their father, Major Palfrey, has gone off to war, but before he does so he warns the girls to be well behaved. He tells them, "When there is wind on the moon, you must be very careful how you behave. Because if it is an ill wind and you behave badly, it will blow straight into your heart, and then you will behave badly for a long time to come." The girls try to be good, but find that it is much more fun being naughty.

Dinah and Dorinda get into all sorts of adventures. They employ a local witch, the amusing and sometimes prickly Mrs Grimble, to make them a concoction. The girls soon find themselves transformed into kangaroos, which leads them to the local zoo where they make various friends. Plenty of other wild and surreal events take place. The town they live in, Midmeddlecum, is full of madcap characters who do all sorts of nonsensical things. 

Nonsense and Fantasy

The Wind on the Moon is all up a nonsense-fantasy novel in the spirit of the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. The story itself doesn’t seem to have any moral or theme, besides the importance of family, friends, loyalty and courage. The genius of the book is Linklater’s brilliantly effortless style. It’s just so well written that you find yourself totally delighted page after page. If you want to immerse yourself in a fantasy world and experience something deeply pleasurable to read, then The Wind on the Moon is just the ticket.

The Wind on the Moon, by Eric Linklater. Published by New York Review of Books. ISBN: 9781590171004  $24.95