Happy Birthday, John Boyne!
One of Ireland’s most successful contemporary authors turns 50!
John Boyne is a brilliant writer who never judges what is wrong or right. But what he does is to invite readers to follow his characters through their everyday lives – wherever, whenever the setting is – and let the reader judge themselves. When the characters get confronted with unbelievable, terrible occasions, John Boyne tells in an unexcited and sensitive manner what is going on. He avoids being loud and flashy, avoids pointing at mistakes and faults his protagonists might do. And because the texts’ moods are very calm, the reader is shaken up and shocked when he or she reveals the dark side of the presumed banalities John Boyne presents in his stories.
Surely, most readers will connect John Boyne to “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”, which explores nationalism and the cruelty of concentration camps through children’s eyes. Another novel named “Stay Where You Are and Then Leave” tells the story of Alfie, whose father serves in World War I and writes letters to his son. Suddenly, the letters stop, and Alfie tries to find out where his father is. It is a novel about war and traumas, the shellshock, and the deep love between father and son. Finally, the book was rightly awarded the Gustav-Heinemann-Friedenspreis in 2015.
But John Boyne is not tired of telling new stories about other subjects, apart from war. His latest novel, “My Brother’s Name is Jessica” for young readers, was published in 2019 and tells how protagonist Sam Waver experiences the transitioning of his older brother into a woman.
Happy Birthday, John Boyne! We are looking forward to more brilliantly told stories, sharply analysed social criticism and brave protagonists.