REVIEW by Fo Orbell

NWR Issue r10

The Search for Mister Lloyd

by Griff Rowland

This quirky coming-of-age novel will make your spirit soar: Griff Rowland has created an unusual and magical tale about the quest to find a racing pigeon, Mister Lloyd. Mostyn Price is an eleven-year-old boy from Bangor whose grandfather, Taid, has given him a pet pigeon to help him come to terms with the disappearance of his father. However, when Mister Lloyd also goes missing en route from Belgium to Bangor, Mostyn finds himself wandering the streets of London.

The book is full of beautiful, visceral detail: ‘The skyline takes on the colour of the darkest grey feather, and a million walking feet echo through its streets.’ In addition, Rowland draws some fantastically vivid characters, including Mostyn’s mother, ‘Bangor’s version of Penelope Cruz’; Maldwn Jones, ‘the Liberator’, and a whole cast of pigeons: Earl and Lady Grey, Anne of Grey Gables, Idwal Slab and Greysta, Grey’s Anatomy. The dialogue is fluid and fast-paced bringing the characters – humans and pigeons – alive. Furthermore, Mostyn’s narration is cleverly interwoven with a mysterious voice that charts the fate of Mister Lloyd from a bird’s perspective, heightening the suspense as we wonder where and how Mostyn will find his beloved pigeon. Another dimension to the story is added with the puzzle of the online helper from Report Strays Online – Misterlloydfanclub, otherwise known as Elvis – whose real identity is kept hidden until the final pages.

This multilayered and original first novel this year deservedly won the Tir na n-Og Award. I adored this book and would recommend it to young adult readers aged eleven plus, although younger readers would enjoy reading it with an adult (my nine year old son was enchanted). Buy or borrow this book – it will take you on an incredible journey of your own.

Fo Orbell is a freelance picture researcher and writer. She is a regular researcher for Oxford University Press and is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University.

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previous review: Seaside Donkey: A Wayward Walk Around Wales
next review: Ben and the Spider Prince


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