The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket
by John Boyne
Doubleday, $19.95 pb, 261 pp, 9780857531476
A midnight birth on a Friday is the first suggestion that Barnaby Brocket is not an ordinary arrival. Seconds later, baby Barnaby slips through the doctor’s hands and floats towards the ceiling. For his parents, Eleanor and Alistair, life until this point has been satisfyingly normal, with ‘no time for people who were unusual or who made a show of themselves in public’. Barnaby’s airborne ways leave his family ashamed. Being different is the worst thing in the world.