David Almond apparently believes in the supernatural. His collection of autobiographical short stories, Counting Stars (2000), records instances of regular folk, the people he grew up with in and around Newcastle in northern England, meeting angels and talking with the dead. His novels, from Skellig (1998) to Heaven Eyes (2000) to Secret Heart (2001) on up to the most recent work, The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean telt by hisself (2011) and The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas (2013), describe transcendental moments in the lives of their protagonists, moments when children discover that they have heretofore invisible angel’s wings jutting from their shoulders, moments when a miraculously preserved body recovered from the industrial slime of the polluted River Tyne in Newcastle, England comes back to life, moments when William Blake’s Tyger manifests itself in a northern woodland or an abused boy discovers he can heal the dead. David Almond also believes that the sublime is a part of ordinary life, that the most everyday matters can become extraordinary, can turn into moments of transcendence. Take the simple pleasures of gardening for example, particularly when mixed with the imagination and the sad fact of death.
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