The New Policemanby Kate Thompson
Who knows where the time goes?
There never seems to be enough time in Kinvara, or anywhere else in Ireland for that matter. When J.J.'s mother says time's what she really wants for her birthday, J.J. decides to find her some. He's set himself up for an impossible task . . . until a neighbor reveals a secret. There's a place where time stands still—at/p>
Who knows where the time goes?
There never seems to be enough time in Kinvara, or anywhere else in Ireland for that matter. When J.J.'s mother says time's what she really wants for her birthday, J.J. decides to find her some. He's set himself up for an impossible task . . . until a neighbor reveals a secret. There's a place where time stands still—at least, it's supposed to. J.J. can make the journey there, but he'll have to vanish from his own life to do so. Can J.J. find the leak between the two worlds? Will a shocking rumor about his family's past come back to haunt him? And what does it all have to do with the village's new policeman . . . ?
The clock is ticking much too quickly for 15-year-old J.J. Liddy, his mother, and the other residents of his Irish village. As time seems to slip away more quickly every day, J.J.'s mother jokingly requests more time as her birthday gift. Born into a family of traditional Irish musicians, the boy is torn between his natural love of music and playing with his family at dances, or agreeing to go with his friend to a club on the night he is supposed to play. The decision is made for him when he encounters a woman who tells him she knows how he can get the additional time for his mother. So begins his journey to Tír na n' Ó, the Land of Eternal Youth, a land of faeries who are also mysteriously losing time. Kate Thompson's award-winning book (Greenwillow, 2007) delivers a rich fantasy. Slowly unveiled family mysteries and questions about the identity of the new policeman in town will keep listeners enthralled. The parallel between the loss of time and the busy life we all lead will be apparent to most students. Irish actress Marcella Riordan lends an authentic accent to the reading. Although each chapter is followed by a somewhat long interlude of Irish music which may put off some listeners, the strong musical tie to the story is worthwhile.
Jeana ActkinsonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
The New Policeman
By Kate Thompson
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Kate Thompson
All right reserved.
J.J. Liddy and his best friend, Jimmy Dowling, often had arguments. J.J. never took them seriously. He even considered them a sign of the strength of the friendship, because they always made up again straightaway, unlike some of the girls in school, who got into major possessive battles with one another. But on that day in early September, during the first week that they were back in school, they had an argument like none before.
J.J. couldn't even remember now what it had been about. But at the end of it, at the point where they usually came round to forgiving each other and patching it up, Jimmy had dropped a bombshell.
"I should have had more sense than to hang around with you anyway, after what my granny told me about the Liddys."
His words were followed by a dreadful silence, full of J.J.'s bewilderment and Jimmy's embarrassment. He knew he had gone too far.
"What about the Liddys?" said J.J.
"Nothing." Jimmy turned to go back into school.
J.J. stood in front of him. "Go on. What did she tell you?"
Jimmy might have been able to wriggle his way out of it and pretend it was a bluff, but he had been overheard. He and J.J. were no longer alone. Two other lads, Aidan Currie and Mike Ford, had overheard and had come to join in.
"Go on, Jimmy," said Aidan. "You may as well tell him."
"Yeah," said Mike. "If he doesn't knowhe must be the only person in the county who doesn't."
The bell rang for the end of the morning break. They all ignored it.
"Know what?" said J.J. He felt cold, terrified, not of something that might happen but of something that he might find inside himself; in his blood.
"It was a long time ago," said Jimmy, still trying to retract.
"One of the Liddys . . ." Jimmy said something else but he mumbled it beneath his breath and J.J. couldn't hear. It sounded like "burgled the beast."
The teacher on yard duty was calling them in. Jimmy began to walk toward the school. The others fell in.
"He did what?" said J.J.
"Forget it," said Jimmy.
It was Aidan Currie who said it, loud enough for J.J. or anyone else to hear. "Sure, everyone knows about it. Your great-granddad. J.J. Liddy, same as yourself. He murdered the priest."
J.J. stopped in his tracks. "No way!"
"He did, so," said Mike. "And all for the sake of an old wooden flute."
"You're a shower of liars!" said J.J.
The boys, except for Jimmy, laughed.
"Always mad for the music, the same Liddys," said Mike.
He began to hop and skip toward the school in a goofy parody of Irish dancing. Aidan trotted beside him, singing an out-of-tune version of "The Irish Washerwoman." Jimmy glanced back at J.J. and, his head down, followed them as they went back in.
J.J. stood alone in the yard. It couldn't be true. But he knew, now that he thought about it, that there had always been something behind the way some of the local people regarded him and his family. A lot of people in the community came to the céilís and the set-dancing classes that were held at his house on Saturdays. They had always come, and their parents and grandparents had come before them. In recent years the numbers had increased dramatically with the influx of new people into the area. Some of them came from thirty miles away and more. But there was, and always had been, a large number of local people who would have nothing to do with the Liddys or their music. They didn't exactly cross the street to avoid J.J. and his family, but they didn't talk to them either. J.J., if he'd thought about it at all, had assumed it was because his parents were one of the only couples in the district who weren't married, but what if that wasn't the reason? What if it had really happened? Could J.J. be descended from a murderer?
The teacher was standing at the door, waiting for him.
J.J. hesitated. For a moment it seemed to him that there was no way he could set foot inside that school again. Then the solution came to him.
The teacher closed the door behind him. "What do you think you were doing, standing out there like a lemon?"
"Sorry," said J.J. "I didn't realize you were talking to me."
"Who else would I be talking to?"
"My name's Byrne," said J.J. "My mother's name is Liddy all right, but my father's name is Byrne. I'm J.J. Byrne."
Excerpted from The New Policeman by Kate Thompson Copyright © 2007 by Kate Thompson. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Kate Thompson lives on the west coast of Ireland, which provides inspiration for the Irish magic, music, and landscape in the award-winning The New Policeman and The Last of the High Kings.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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J.J. Liddy, the main character of Kate Thompson's novel The New Policeman, has a problem: there never seems to be enough time in the day. In fact, there seems to be decidedly less time. With barely enough hours in the day for school and his music, J.J. has no time left over to contemplate the shocking revelation that his grandfather may have been a murderer. To make matters worse, this time problem seems to affect everyone in Kinvara. When J.J.'s mother reveals that she wants more time for her birthday, J.J. decides to go and find some. A task, at first, that seems like an impossible undertaking for a fifteen-year-old. That is until a neighbor shows J.J. an unlikely place to look for everyone's lost time. Even though he doesn't believe in fairies, J.J. finds himself in Tir na n'Og, the land of eternal youth, and the home of Irish fairies. So begins J.J.'s search of Tir na n'Og to figure out where the time has gone and, more importantly, how to get it back. Along the way J.J. meets a variety of memorable characters including Aengus Og (a personal favorite after finishing the novel). The narration shifts throughout the book alternating between J.J. in his search for the county's lost time and the wanderings of the new policeman in Kinvara, Garda Larry O'Dwyer. Like J.J. (and most of Kinvara it seems), the new policeman has a love for music. The new policeman is also almost certain he used to have a good reason for becoming a policeman--if only he could remember what it was. Thompson expertly entwines these two seemingly disconnected narratives throughout the novel. The common thread between them remains the music that literally runs through the novel. Chapter breaks are denoted by sheet music for traditional Irish songs whose titles relate to the story in addition to the strong affinity all of the characters have for music. By the end of the novel, Thompson ties together both stories creating a sensational end to a truly enjoyable book. At the same time, The New Policeman is irresistibly Irish, as if you can hear an Irish accent in the narration (or hear a jig or two in the background). The book's "Irish-ness" is enhanced by Thompson's integration of Irish mythology and folklore; a glossary in the back explains the pronunciation and origin of especially Irish words like ceili (a dance) or craic (fun). Thompson's novel has already received a variety of critical acclaim on the other side of the Atlantic. In addition it is the winner of the Whitbread Children's Book Award and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. Even better, though, is the fact that this book is a great choice for readers of any age. Thompson takes her time arriving at the crux of the plot, but the richness or her writing more than makes up for that. A good book is one that can transport the reader to the place within its pages: The New Policeman does that and more. Originally published in Great Britain in 2005, this is the first year that The New Policeman was published in the United States. All this reviewer can say to that is it's better late than never.
This novel was surprisingly good, not that I was expecting less, but more that I wasn't sure what to expect at all. The overall premise of the book doesn't really do the actual story justice. I love how Thompson has woven together Ireland's past and present, the ancient, tribal, mythological version of the nation with the present, Christian-influenced nation we see today. Although Thomson lifted the core of her fantasy from Irish mythology, I still feel this is an original fantasy because it's rare that we get to see fantasies using Irish mythology. We see a lot of Norse and Austro-Hungarian myth, with elves, dragons, dwarves, as well as Greek and Roman, but it's rare that we get a taste of Irish mythology, which is characteristically different, both in its creatures and the world in which they live. What I found most interesting was the correlation that Thompson makes between the Irish mythology, which is treated as fact in the text, and the Irish culture. The music is thought to have come from the fairies, and when J.J. discovers the world of the fairies, who are actually much more like humans than our traditional view of fairies, he discovers that time never passes in their land, so they have no fear or worry about anything. Thompson's theory spoken through the text creates a connection between the Irish people and their love for music, beer, dancing and general merriment with their mythology. It's a fun take on Ireland's past and present, but, in a way, it may not be too far off. Even though they may not have actually gotten their music from fairies, there are theories about how cultures and languages emerge. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis works off of the belief that a culture's language is formed out of its surroundings, thus why the Eskimos would have 30+ words for snow. There may be some credence to why Ireland and the Gaelic people have been historically very different from the rest of the people's of Europe-why they've valued music and merriment, relationships and family over conquering other lands or industrial progress. Perhaps Thompson's theory is correct, and the Irish music does come from the immortals who live in Tír na n'Óg, the land of eternal youth. I highly recommend this book to all readers 11+. -Lindsey Miller, www.lindseyslibrary.com
Very engaging, with short chapters. The story is interesting and unexpected; the author is very deft at keeping it real. A good summer read!
There is never enough time in the small Irish town of Kinvara. People go about their daily business at top speed: children rush to catch school buses that are inevitably late, parents never make it to work on time, and even the elderly complain that there's just not enough time in the day. Everyone agrees that it wasn't always this way, but no one can pinpoint exactly when time started seeping out of their lives. Although everyone can feel the time leak, no one can prove its existence, and so although everyone complains about it, no one does anything to stop it.
No one, that is, until J.J. Liddy's mother insists that the only thing she truly wants for her birthday is more time. J.J. understands his mother's desire, and wishes that he could find a way to help her get the gift she really wants this year, but like everyone else he feels that it's hopeless to wish for something that will never come.
However, Ireland is rich with history and mythology, and the two often become confused with each other. For J.J., a revelation about his own family history leads to a series of interconnected discoveries, eventually causing him to stumble into the mythical T¿r na n'¿g, the land of Eternal Youth. There, time is supposed to stand still, but J.J.'s visit there shows him that time is passing there, albeit very slowly. Somehow, time is leaking from the real world into T¿r na n'¿g, and as the only person who knows the truth of the leak, J.J. is the only person who can stop it. Along the way, he begins to unravel the secrets of his history, both recent and distant, as the legends of Ireland come to life around him.
I thoroughly enjoyed this tale, steeped as it was in the richness of Irish legends and tradition. All of the chapters were named after Irish dance tunes, the first few measures of which are presented in musical notation along with the chapter heading. My personal knowledge of Irish mythology allowed me a greater understanding of what was going on throughout the story, but for readers unfamiliar with the setting, Thompson includes a concise but helpful glossary of definitions and pronunciations. The story itself started a bit slowly, but once it picked up, it became practically impossible to put down.
Kate Thompson was a new author for me, but after I got into this book, I really enjoyed it. If you are into far away lands and fiction, it's a good book to read.
As a middle school teacher, this book will delight readers toward a fresh move in fantasy fiction. Much of the vocabulary is above middle school level so I would recommend this to higher reading levels.
I didn't like this book because it wasn't full of action and comedy . If you read it, you might like it . J.J wants to get his mom a birthday present. She wants to have time . He can't get time for his mom, so he disappears and he tries to get time . There is a police in the village because he is missing . J.J goes into a different world and meets new people and gods there . His mom doesn't know were J.J is at. The police man ask questions to J.J 's mom . She doesn't know so she just says ¿ I don't know were my son J.J is .¿ . People think J.J's grandfather is a murderer, because he went to a guy's house and took his flute . Then nobody ever saw the flute and the guy again . Does J.J ever come back? Does J.J ever solve the riddle of grandfather? I would not recommend this book to somebody that likes action and comedy. If you like mystery and adventure stories you might like THE NEW POLICEMAN .
Wasn't the best I've read, but I like the tale. The author did a good job coming up with a topic. (However, it needs a different title). Well written, but some parts just didn't... They weren't as exciting or surprising as they could be. Still, my friend said that it was her favorite book and lent it to me. So read it anyways. It seems that most people do like it.
The New Policeman is a wonderfully written fantasy. The fantasy is done so well. It isn't overdramatic or exaggerated but still captivating and intriguing. If you are looking for a charming book to read, this is it. A magnificent and creative story full of Irish folklore. Definitely recommended!