Emma Neale’s new novel Fosterling, is about a yeti living in Dunedin. No, it’s not a children’s book or a fantasy but a realistic, compassionate treatment of what it’s like to be an outsider. The writing is elegant. Original similes abound: one confused young man looks like ‘a 16 year old whose name has been called in class when he’d been happily thinking about the pie he’d ordered for lunch; and subtle feelings are described with precision. I  wanted a more upbeat ending, but that’s my bent (and one reason I like writing for children). The yeti, Bu, is a sensitive soul – a reminder of that other misunderstood Boo in To Kill a Mockingbird. And I thought of my favourite yeti tale, Tintin in Tibet , in which the creature also shows his ‘humanity’, but is treated as a beast. Fosterling reminded me that there are Bu’s in every city, often hidden in ‘half-way’ houses.  I can see this multi-character story being made into an Altman-style movie.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply