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reviews /  editor book review
editor content by: editor
rodrigo fresán 'kensington gardens' rodrigo fresán
kensington gardens
(faber)
Turn on, tune in, and never grow up.

Over the course of a single night, Peter Hook, a hugely successful children’s author, interweaves an account of his own life with that of J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan. His gagged and drugged audience is a Japanese actor slated to play Jim Yang, the time-travelling hero of Hook’s disturbing novels.

Argentinian author Fresán swings hypnotically between Barrie’s life - from a lonely Scottish childhood to the halcyon days of his involvement with the five Llewelyn Davies boys who, collectively, gave birth to Peter Pan - and Hook’s troubled reminiscences of growing up as the son of two doomed aristocratic counterculturists in the psychedelic whirlpool of 1960s London.

It is perhaps fitting that Barrie, who exerted an irresistible influence on all who fell within his orbit, should come to dominate Kensington Gardens, although this renders Hook’s disturbed state and final revelation more footnote than summation. But while the interplay between the novel’s joint narratives is ultimately too one-sided, reading Fresán’s torrential, enthralling prose is it’s own reward.


Chris Power 04 August 05 rating of 3 and 1/2
Kensington Gardens by Rodrigo Fresán, out now published by Faber.
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