A monster calls, Patrick Ness

Who is the real monster?

Mireia Singleton Escofet

“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.” Patrick Ness.

Since dad left, Connor and his mum have been a closely knit family of two. Connor’s story begins when this harmony comes to an abrupt end because of the terminal cancer mum’s suffering from and the unwarranted intrusion of a monster -in the form of the yew tree- makes at precisely 12:07 every night.

Ness brings us a tale of sorrow, grief and learning to let go and accept one’s feelings however hard it seems. At the start of the novel, Connor is a friendless, isolated and lonely child who is out-of-touch with the world and clings to the hope that his mum will magically recover from her disease and everything will return to its previous happy status-quo. The future, and the immediate reality is quiet different though, and the yew-tree is determined to force Connor to face his demons.

The monster will present Connor with three fables all of which present moral dilemas and unexpected endings that stir up a compound of raw and conflictive feelings in Connor. Through the close examination of how these stories relate to him, Connor will find closure and open himself up to what other things life could bring him. The story will surely make more than on shed a tear but what makes it a worthy read there is hope for Connor.

Besides the amazing story-line, what makes this a good read for pre-intermediate learners of a foreign language is its short length and the various themes and sub-plot stories that invite readers to talk about the book. The recent film-adaptation is faithful to the book and would serve as perfect complimentary activity. I would also recommend to acquire the illustrated version by Jay Kay, because it is one of those books you will want to keep.

Editions

[eng] A monster calls Candlewick Books 2011 204 pages
[cat] Un monstre em ve a veure Sembra Llibres 2015 216 pàgines
[fr] Quelques minutes après minuit Folio Junior 2016 208 pages
[cast] Un monstruo viene a verme Nube de Tinta 2014 208 páginas
[it] Sette minuti dopo la mezzanotte Mondadori 2014 224 pagine

Adaptations

A visually spectacular drama from acclaimed director Juan Antonio Bayona (2016), based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel with Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Lewis MacDougall and Liam Neeson. A Monster Calls is the movie based on the novel of the same name by Patrick Ness:

Resources

Round table about the film adaptation with J.A. Bayona, Lewis Macdougall and Patrick Ness:

Interview with Patrick Ness about film adaptation of A monster calls:

Visit the author’s website of Patrick Ness.

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