The Other Book by Philip Womack - review by Elspeth Barker

Elspeth Barker

Beetle-Headed Whelp!

The Other Book


Bloomsbury 272pp £6.99 order from our bookshop

It is a daunting task for a reviewer to be asked to review the Assistant Editor’s own first novel. Hercules himself was not so stringently tested. Nevertheless, I accepted the challenge. I am not a coward. But my courage began to fail me when I realised that Philip Womack’s The Other Book (a title that echoes doubtless Henry James’s The Other Face) is not a book intended for grown-up people, but for teen-people. My knowledge of teen literature is limited to the equestrian. Nonetheless, I persevered. Do I not own two teenage grandsons? Might not a use have finally been found for them? They could be my interpreters, my guides. 

The Other Book is about a magical book which may or may not come from ‘The Other World’, the place the author asks us to imagine as the great repository of all wickedness. The Other Book’s possessor has control over good and evil in this world, protecting and maintaining the

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