“Harry keenly observes his family’s disintegration and wonders about his own. . . . Hide & Seek has poignancy. . . . Reads with compelling tension.” Dorothy Clark, Boston Globe
Hide & Seek
978-1-84195-793-7 • $13.00 • Paperback • July 2006
An emotionally taut, compelling, and suspenseful debut novel revolving around a nine-year-old boy who is forced to confront the confusing, complicated world of adults after his kid brother vanishes during a school outing
Meet Harry Pickles, the fastest boy in the world (well, at least in school), big brother to Daniel (who runs like a girl but is, in his own twerpy way, a star), and the firstborn son of Mo and Pa, the best-looking parents in their Notting Hill elementary school parking lot. Harry’s life, like any other nine-year-old’s, is a colorful, frenetic, and fun blur of lunch boxes, vocabulary tests, and keeping up with his pals Piggy and Terrynot to mention keeping an eye on his kid brother Daniel.
Mo, a successful, well-known journalist, and Pa, a surgeon, have built a wonderful world for Harry and Daniel to grow up in, but when a school outing results in Daniel’s vanishing, the complicated adult world of police investigations and interviews, searches of the countryside, recriminations, and ultimate responsibility comes crashing in on a very confused Harry.
Told with an utterly compelling and exuberant sense of truth in a harrowing situation, Hide & Seek is a fresh debut of remarkable compassion, tense mystery, disarming humor, and emotional clarity. Clare Sambrook’s exceptional debut novel should find its place alongside other recent achievements in literary fiction such as The Lovely Bones, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and The Deep End of the Ocean.
An interview with Clare Sambrook:
How did you come to fiction writing?
After Cambridge University I headed for journalism with naive ideas about whipping the bad guys and springing innocent people from prison. I walked straight into the press release culture. That’s how journalists worked. I escaped it, eventually, and went freelance to investigate big gambling’s assault on Britain, exposing the business catastrophes of our lottery regulator. I’ve co-authored a book on sleaze in the Olympics, the Salt Lake City scandal, and all that.
Five years ago I started all over again learning how to write. I took classes, kept a notebook, wrote short stories, read critically . . . J. D. Salinger, Joseph Heller, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Wendy Wasserstein, Laurie Lee, Derek Walcott, Ted Hughes, Stephen King, Chekhov, Elmore Leonard, Anne Tyler . . . diverse stuff. I tried to figure out how it worked.
Then, I took a bus trip. After a nap I woke up to discover that a child had gone missing. Left behind, all alone, in the dark. Adults paled. Kids came up with rescue plans. That was the start of Hide & Seek.
Did you find yourself influenced by any writers when working on this novel?
The influences I know about are Harper Lee, J. D. Salinger, Anne Tyler. Bill Watterson, too. And Lou Reed, something in the mood of “My Friend George.” When I was in the swing of writing I shielded myself from direct influence. I read only Elmore Leonard because his world is about as far from Hide & Seek’s as it’s possible to be, and because, if anything rubbed off, I hoped it might be something to do with dialogue.