Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Del-Del by Victor Kelleher

On the anniversary of his sister's death seven-year old Sam becomes inhabited by a malevolent being called Del-Del. The change is gradual, but soon Del-Del has taken control. Sam's behaviour is tearing the family apart and no one can tell if Sam is acting out because of his grief or whether the truth is much darker--possession. Told through fourteen-year-old Beth's eyes, this is a story that takes the reader into the darkest parts of the human mind, and the universe.

Del-Del (1991) is a short novel, not even 200 pages, so I was surprised at the speed with which Sam became Del-Del and the family brought in the inevitable exorcist. Clearly there was going to be more to this novel than pea soup and talking in tongues. The first thing that I found curious was that Sam is purportedly a genius. Being a big spec fic fan I was gunning for there being a supernatural element to this book. But Sam's abilities keep the reader guessing. Is he clever enough to manufacture first a possession, and then an entirely more complicated series of events? And if he is making it all up, then why?

I read Del-Del on the recommendation of a friend who told me about it while reminiscing about his favourite books from his high school years. I can see why Del-Del stuck in his mind all these years later. It's a gripping, fast-paced tale, simply told but highly affecting. Find yourself a dog-eared copy on eBay if you like thrilling, psychological reads.

Two more cool things: Victor Kelleher is Australian (OK, UK born and raised in Africa, but whatever) and Del-Del won Children's Book of the Year in 1992. I particularly enjoyed the Sydney setting for this novel. Fantastic Australian books always get me so excited.


  1. VK was one of my most favourite writers as a kid, and I loved Del-Del. Back in those days (horrid, horrid days of not being able old enough to earn money to spend on books) most of my reads came from the library, so I haven't got any of them, except for The Red King which I recently picked up at a second hand book sale. I always keep my eyes peeled for them at garage sales and SHbook stores. They are a tad elusive unfortunately!

  2. Such a great book! Glad you enjoyed it. I really have to read more by VK, he is an excellent author. I think I'll try and pick up 'The Red King' too.

  3. @Mumma I know what you mean, all my teen books came from the library! I have taken to trawling eBay for the same editions of books I read. For some reason they have to be THE SAME.

    @Benjamin Excellent recommendation! I shall have to pick up more of his books too.