Imagine yourself cozily rolled in your favourite orange blankie reading fairy tales. Just for kicks, just to go back to those old times, when you would read them not because you didn’t question whether they were real, but because they were automatically real. When reality itself would slip between your fingers like melted silver and turn into blue mountains hiding forbidden places and sparkling rainbows at the foot of which a treasure, just waiting there. When everything out there, at that blurry line of the horizon seemed within the reach of your trembling hand. Your steady breath across the pages would make them real.
The comforting reality, where the bad guys would receive their punishment and the good guys and beautiful maidens would get married and live happily ever after. Then imagine a thunder cracking the clear sky, bringing rain and mud in this little perfect world. Imagine it being torn by crooked trees, by poisonous flowers, growing wildly across the paths where once the sun used to rise to no end. Now you are in the world of the Crooked Man and of John Connolly’s Book of Lost Things.
These tainted fairy tales lie in a frame, like the letters framed by tree branches which have grown thorny and wild. David, the main character, is just the means, the train which the reader uses to land into the world which is no longer known to him. While walking along David, you meet characters which might remotely remind you of those times when reality was not questioned. A physically and psychologically deformed Snow White. A Hansel which leads himself into perdition because he is not capable of learning and adapting. A group of army surgeons which find their end and the hand of an almost mythical figure, like fallen from an unrated horror movie. Sometimes the stories are too harsh, too bloody, lacking any humanity or trace of mercy. They send a cold shiver up your spine, find you hoping that David will be able to guide through this forest of deadly characters. Alive.
These twisted pages are their own metaphors for reality, too. Their own metaphors for growing up.