Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.
(1971- ) Irish author, active from the early 1990s, best known for the essentially nonfantastic Young Adult The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: A Fable (2006), set in a slightly confabulated Auschwitz (see Holocaust Fiction; World War Two). Some of his other works for young adults and for children unmistakably elicit topoi from Fantastika to convey dramas whose central energies are evoked by domestic trauma, including Noah Barleywater Runs Away (2010), which features a magic toyshop, and The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket (2013), which features acts of unexplained levitation (see Telekinesis).
Boyne's first novel, The Thief of Time (2000), which was directed to adults, comprises the late-twentieth-century reminiscences of a man who, born in 1743, discovers that he seems to be Immortal; though his experiences include a visit to the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London and a period in the 1920s Hollywood (see California), the focus of the tale is on his becoming capable of loving another. This House Is Haunted (2013), which may also be for adult readers, features a haunted house. Of greater sf interest is The Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom (2020), centred on the experiences of a family from the beginning of the Common Era to the present; the protagonist – in a manner similar to the migrations through time of the cast of Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt (2002) – is reborn again and again (see Reincarnation), as he and his kin learn and relearn the costs and joys of human kindness over the savage centuries; the last sequence, set in the Near Future offers some hope of betterment. [JC]
born Dublin, Ireland: 30 April 1971
- The Thief of Time (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2000) [hb/gray318]
- The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: A Fable (Oxford, Oxfordshire: David Fickling Books, 2006) [hb/]
- Noah Barleywater Runs Away (Oxford, Oxfordshire: David Fickling Books, 2010) [hb/]
- The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket (London: Doubleday, 2013) [hb/Oliver Jeffers]
- This House Is Haunted (London: Doubleday, 2013) [hb/]
- The Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom (London: Doubleday, 2020) [hb/]
previous versions of this entry