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Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane…

Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence (edition 2017)

by Michael Marshall Smith (Author)

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"Hannah Green actually thinks her story is more mundane than most. But she's about to discover that the shadows in her life have been hiding a world where nothing is as it seems: that there's an ancient and secret machine that converts evil deeds into energy, that some mushrooms can talk - and that her grandfather has been friends with the Devil for over a hundred and fifty years, and now they need her help"--… (more)
Title:Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence
Authors:Michael Marshall Smith (Author)
Info:HarperVoyager (2017), 369 pages
Tags:contemporary fiction, fantasy & magical realism, USA

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Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence by Michael Marshall Smith



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Hannah Green is eleven years old and has recently learned the word ‘mundane’. She learns that it has two meanings: 1) of the earthly world; and 2) tedious, everyday, inconsequential. As the book opens, her life very definitely falls into the latter category. She is an only child whose life follows a comfortable set of patterns: trips with her parents downtown in Santa Cruz; visits to a favourite restaurant in Los Gatos; holidays to a lodge in Big Sur. These things have formed Hannah’s childhood with a reassuring sense of security. But then things start going wrong. Suddenly Hannah’s mum and dad don’t seem happy any more. Then her mum moves out to focus on a big work project in London. Then her dad announces that Hannah is going to stay for her granddad for a couple of weeks. And it’s at this point that things start to become very, very weird, and Hannah begins to realise that perhaps her new life is going to be best defined in the first sense of ‘mundane’. Because, quite frankly, when your granddad turns out to be working for the Devil, and you end up on a road trip with said prince of darkness, ‘tedious’ just doesn’t quite fit the bill...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2020/02/14/hannah-green-and-her-unfeasibly-mundane-exis... ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Feb 14, 2020 |
Hannah Green is an ordinary 11-year-old staying with her grandfather as her parents’ marriage falls apart. Unfortunately, her grandfather happens to be the devil’s engineer, responsible for the upkeep of an infernal engine that has, for reasons unknown, stopped working. The engine was supposed to take the power derived from evil acts and give it to the devil, but it’s not (and the resolution of this is the weakest/most confusing part of the book); Hannah is dragged along with her grandfather in the attempt to fix things, but there are people/entities who are not friends of the devil trying to stop them. There are a number of clever bits derived from the omniscient POV, commenting on Hannah’s reasoning and on the ultimate fates of minor characters, but I’m not sure it added up to much. ( )
  rivkat | Apr 22, 2019 |
4.5 ( )
  Bibli0mane | Aug 21, 2018 |
*I received a free advance copy of this book in return for an honest review*

Hannah's parents have split up and they are all having trouble coping with the new situation. In an attempt to get some space to adjust her father sends her to stay with her grandfather, an eccentric wanderer who just happens to work for the Devil. The Devil. The problem is that the Devil has just emerged from several years of "sleep" and things have gone wrong in his absence, the essential balance of evil in the world is shifting and he needs his old employee's help. Oh, and there's a demon cheeky, simple-minded demon called Vaneclaw that happens to resemble a large mushroom.

There's a slightly rocky start and Marshal Smith takes a little while to find his feet in the narrative and to establish the tone. For a while I wondered how the strands were going to come together when the tone was sometimes wildly different. Hannah is an enjoyable protagonist sitting on just the right side of precocious, she entertainingly cynical and world-weary without losing her childish qualities. The Devil is the Devil and he does Bad Things, but this is the devil in his most relatable form, a part of the necessary balance between good and evil . He's bad, but he's not all bad. My unease was with the trio of criminals that form the antagonist group, some of their segments were really rather dark, in a way that I found difficult to reconcile with the more typical YA fare of the rest of the narrative. It's a problem that was never fully resolved with moments of unexpected violence that were just a shade too much.

Aside from this I found myself enjoying the story more and more. The interactions between the Devil and his dry deadpan delivery and Vaneclaw's silly puns and asinine comments are amusing and the relationship between the Devil and Hannah's grandfather in an inventive take on the age-old trope of making deals with the Devil, though a little more development would have been very welcome. Hannah is funny, brave hero out to save her parents and the world while grappling with the changes wrought by their split. She wants them to reunite but a conflict of potentially biblical proportions puts everything into perspective, even for an eleven-year-old! Once the tone (mostly) settled it was a fun, pacy ride with enough originality and style to make it truly enjoyable. The balance between the morals of the story, the sly humour and the acknowledgement of the darkness out there in the world definitely placed it in the better class of YA, with just enough depth to keep young readers and adults (children at heart) happy. ( )
  moray_reads | Mar 20, 2018 |
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For Nate,
who heard some of this first,
and without whom it wouldn't exist.
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Imagine if your will, a watchmakers workshop.
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