The Shadow Year

The Shadow Year

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:

In New York's Long Island, in the unpredictable decade of the 1960s, a young boy laments the approaching close of summer and the advent of sixth grade. Growing up in a household with an overworked father whom he rarely sees, an alcoholic mother who paints wonderful canvases that are never displayed, an older brother who serves as both tormentor and protector, and a younger sister who inhabits her own secret world, the boy takes his amusements where he can find them. Some of his free time is spent in the basement of the family's modest home, where he and his brother, Jim, have created Botch Town, a detailed cardboard replica of their community, complete with clay figurines representing friends and neighbors. And so the time passes with a not-always-reassuring sameness--until the night a prowler is reported stalking the neighborhood.

Appointing themselves ad hoc investigators, the brothers set out to aid the police--while their little sister, Mary, smokes cigarettes, speaks in other voices, inhabits alternate personas . . . and, unbeknownst to her older siblings, moves around the inanimate residents of Botch Town. But ensuing events add a shadowy cast to the boys' night games: disappearances, deaths, and spectral sightings capped off by the arrival of a sinister man in a long white car trawling the neighborhood after dark. Strangest of all is the inescapable fact that every one of these troubling occurrences seems to correspond directly to the changes little Mary has made to the miniature town in the basement.

Not since Ray Bradbury's classic Dandelion Wine has a novel so richly evoked the dark magic of small-town boyhood. At once a hypnotically compelling mystery, a masterful re-creation of a unique time and place, a celebration of youth, and a poignant and disquieting portrait of home and family--all balancing on a razor's edge separating reality from the unsettlingly remarkable--The Shadow Year is a monumental new work from one of contemporary fiction's most fearless and inventive artists.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c2008.
ISBN: 9780061231520
Characteristics: 289 p. ;,24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 07, 2013

anything by this author is YUMmm (vs yuck)

Jul 21, 2010

Creepy and evocative.


Add a Summary
Mar 15, 2010

"It's the mid-1960s in the Long Island town where the unnamed narrator, a sixth-grade boy, and his siblings live with their mostly absent father and alcoholic mother. Despite the lack of adults in their lives, the kids are doing ok--together, they've created a model of their town, complete with clay figures standing in for neighbors, friends, and foes. But soon events in their town turn menacing, when a boy disappears and a prowler haunts the streets. With elements of mystery, fantasy, and an enticingly spooky atmosphere, The Shadow Year is likely to appeal to readers who like genre-bending novels; author Jeffrey Ford has won the Edgar (a mystery award) and been nominated for a Nebula for science fiction." -NextReads

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings

No similar edition of this title was found at Library.

Try searching for The Shadow Year to see if Library owns related versions of the work.

To Top