Looking into another world through mysterious doors might seem like a wonderful thing for Alice, but for some orphaned teens in Rachael Rippon’s The Bagman, that other world only holds nightmares and death. When Abigail Cobble is transferred to a new orphanage, she hears rumors of the Bagman, a treacherous creature feeding off the fears of humans. Her small world is suddenly thrown upside down when she strikes a deal with the Bagman.
The Bagman is no ordinary tale of good versus evil. Just as in reality, the author acknowledges the truth of good and evil: there are no clear-cut lines, especially when players look to gain something. For Abigail, she must find her locket, a heirloom left by her late mother, to protect her from mysterious legends circling her unknown family history.
This is the first time I’ve come across a hybrid children’s book in the magic realism genre. The Bagman takes a bit of Japanese magic realist Haruki Murakami’s Dance, Dance, Dance closet skeletons and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline Other World characters. There are many characters to relate to, and some are complex enough to make the story unpredictable.
Although this book is meant to be enjoyed by children, The Bagman can give anyone in this world a chill.