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Bernard Beckett

  • awardShortlisted, New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, New Zealand, 2016
  • I remember the machine by his bed. It made a sound like sighing. Numbers twitched, unable to settle. A jagged line sawed across the screen. At least it was something to look at. Something that wasn’t him. They’d brushed his hair, as if he were already dead. A song came into my head, I couldn’t chase it away. ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’. I pretended to smile, pretended to be brave. ‘Twin brother in a coma,’ I mouthed, ‘I know it’s serious.’ He would have laughed. He would have been better than me at this.

    Rene’s twin brother Theo lies unconscious in hospital after a freak accident left him with massively disrupted brain function. There is hope though. An experimental procedure—risky, scientifically exciting and ethically questionable—could allow him to gain a new life. But what life, and at what cost?

    Only Rene can give the required consent. And now he must face that difficult decision.

    But first there is the question of Rene’s capacity to make that decision. And this is where the real story begins.

    Read a Q & A with Bernard Beckett here.


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    Bernard Beckett
    About the Author

    Bernard Beckett is a multi-award-winning author of books for adults and young adults and one of New Zealand’s most outstanding writers. The Tunnel of Dreams is his first middle-grade novel. He lives near Wellington with his family.

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    Text publication date:
    27 May 2015
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    identity, sibling relationships, guilt, philosophy
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    Praise for Bernard Beckett

    ‘This is a fascinating exploration of the notion of self…Well worth reading, and when you’ve finished, let me know what you thought of the end because I’m dying to discuss it!’

    ‘Clever and thought-provoking.’

    ‘It was incredible. The complexity of the storyline was nothing short of delicious and encouraged that deep, emotional thinking that is lacking in the majority of young adult novels.’

    ‘It is a rare kind of young adult book that aims to leave the reader with more than just the usual afterthoughts of the story. Beckett encourages the reader on his or her own philosophical journey.’

    ‘Stunning and beguiling…This is superb fiction—thoughtful, clear, well-written and engrossing.’

    ‘An intense, intelligent novel.’

    ‘This book is a beautiful example of a thought experiment, with characters you feel for, and stories that you enjoy every moment of.’

    Lullaby is very eerie science fiction which, in the telling of the story, discusses the dilemmas that medicine could find itself in when the desire to break new frontiers clashes with ethical principles…Confronting, terrifying and challenging.’

    ‘Bernard Beckett’s biggest strength isn’t that he is able to convey high-minded sci-fi concepts to his usual audience of young adult readers – it is the power of the concepts themselves…It’s exciting to see a recent scientific concept such as the connectome (a map of neural connections in the brain) used to drive dramatic tension and ask big questions.’

    Lullaby is an amazingly complex novel, exploring the nature of identity and shared memories as well as how we shape the story of ourselves. The questions it raises stay with the reader for a long time after the book is finished.’

    Other editions ofLullaby