Plain Kate by Erin Bow
The writing is lyrical, moving and beautiful. I love Erin Bow’s writing style, she has a sparse descriptive style, which I found it to be fresh and inventive. While reading, I frequently re-read passages just to savor her words and images that they conjured. The book has a Eastern European flavour, which is dark, somber and foreboding. The main character, Plain Kate, is endearing and a tenacious survivor, she so badly wants to belong and is looking desperately for a family. When in dire circumstances she gives away her shadow to a mysterious stranger. As events transpire we learn the terrible reason behind this magical transaction and the consequences for Kate and those around her. At times I wanted to cry, and I would have found the book too dark without the introduction of a delightful talking cat who almost steals the show. The talking cat is terrific and he serves to lighten mood, plus move the story along. Without the cat, Kate would have been totally alone in a hostile world.