“The cemetery was full of dead people. It had always been that way, since long before Magrit had come to live here.”
Magrit by Lee Battersby (Walker Books, 2016) is a creepy delight, with just the right amount of “awful, ugly, terrible.”
“The cemetery wrapped its cold, grey arms around her, and gave her what protection it could.”
There’s so much busy life in the cemetery and Magrit is content.
“Insects ticked and chirruped. Rats scuttled … Stone walls heated and cooled and whispered stories to her about the lives they contained within their depths.”
When Magrit finds Bugrat the baby, life (and death) takes on a whole new meaning.
“All of these things were fun when Magrit was alone, but now that she had Bugrat to share them, they became more exciting than she had ever dreamed possible.”
Before the baby she built a friend,
“Master Puppet from her imagination and what she learned from the skeletons she had discovered in the crypts.”
Now she begins to question everything she thought she knew about her world and what might lie beyond the octagonal walls.
The illustrations and design by Amy Daoud sprinkle the story with dark joy.
Her book design is award-worthy. The hardcover has a textured finish, brilliant yellow endpapers and lilac tinted page edges to match the cover. Amy Daoud describes her illustration style as typographic which is obvious in Magrit. Much of the Puppet Master’s speech stands out in an illustrated heading typography. Another character’s speech has a handwritten font interspersed among the text.
Lee Battersby lives in Mandurah and to keep things local I got Magrit from Paper Bird Bookshop in Fremantle, a place to get lost in. Support your local independent bookseller.
“Growing up has consequences.”