Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
Welcome to the world of Victorian England’s chimney sweeps. Jonathan Auxier has created a tale that is part historical fiction, part fantasy, part social commentary, and pure magic.
Nan Sparrow has only known life as a chimney sweep. From infancy she was nurtured by a man she calls the Sweep. Together they did more than simply survive a grubby, demanding life of toil and deprivation. Instead he taught Nan to find joy in what others might deem a joyless existence.
The Sweep had never understood how a person could sleep through the sunrise. 'It's like Heaven itself is offering you a gift you're too lazy to open,' he used to say. Then he'd wink and add, 'Ah, well. More for us.'
Then a miracle occurs. Nan becomes trapped in a cramped flu. A conniving chimney sweep sets a match to the bottom of the chimney, causing a huge explosion. Nan is painfully expelled to the rooftop and in the process, the lump of soot comes to life.
And yet, here in the dusty crawl space, she held a miracle in her hands.
"A sage or rabbi-- that is, a Jewish priest— forms a body out of mud or clay and then brings the creature to life with a sort of magic word called a Shem"...
"In your stories, why did the rabbi make his golem?"
"Why does a person create anything? Out of necessity... The golem is made to help people who fear for their lives.”
The premise of a Golem is intriguing. The story thread maintains its tension until the tale reaches its inevitable conclusion. Auxier manages to weave the realities of life for the poor and under-privileged into a saga of wonder and magic. It is a story of pain and death, sorrow and disappointment, redemption and possibility, enchantment and wonder. It is a tale to read again and again. There is magic infused into each paragraph, each chapter. Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster is destined to be a timeless classic.
Stories to Tell. Stories to Share.
Sometimes on nights when there was no food to eat, the girl and her Sweep used to make Story soup. The girl would fill her pockets with trash she found on the streets - scraps of paper or trampled strings or bits of colored glass. At the end of the day, she would present these things to The Sweep. “Make Story soup!” she would tell him.’
”Oh-ho!” The Sweep would always exclaim, rubbing his belly with both hands. ‘You’ve brought us ingredients for a right feast!’
It's a very private thing to open a present and a person deserves to do it on his own way.
Bonus: The Wit and Wisdom of Sweep
What is a year?
A year is a bunch of days put together.
Oh, it's much more than that! ...A year is a little lifetime.