Psychologically astute, original and whimsical, the novel creates a memorable protagonist and sees him set sail, eventually, powered by dreams and resilience. Fantasy and a quest for alternative worlds are symptomatic of trauma, but also, ultimately, the means of Oscar’s self-made redemption.’
Felicity Plunkett, Canberra Times 17 March 2012
Robert Power’s debut novel In Search of the Blue Tiger was shortlisted for the unpublished manuscript category of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in 2008. Early promise has germinated into a significant work which perhaps falls between Life of Pi, Under Milk Wood and Gus Kuiijer’s disturbing children’s novel, The Book of Everything.
Oscar Flower’s childhood is distorted by his parents’ violent fights. He believes that they are animals in human form, were-animals, and finds consolation in his literal and metaphorical search for the blue tiger, which will enable him to become fearless and powerful. His quest leads him to the library where a special friendship develops with the sympathetic Mrs April. He also becomes the focus of insular twins, Perch and Carp
Fishcutter, who embroil in him in their Jehovah’s Witness cult of Armageddon and sacrifice. Other surreal experiences seem to be inspired by theosophy or mysticism. The narrative belies recent criticisms of literary fiction as being plotless. Oscar is swept into a compelling journey, relayed in part by his scrapbook of tiger legends and facts. The writing is subtle, connotative and composed. Its craftsmanship embraces and extends this audacious depiction of an escape from childhood.
Joy Lawn, Bookseller and Publisher, Summer 2011/12
This dark and beautiful tale, told with a light touch, stayed in my mind long after I’d finished.
Claire Kennedy, Herald Sun 12 March 2012
As a witness to domestic violence, adultery and even murder, Oscar’s impressionistic image of the world is tainted at such a tender age but Power leavens the darkness of his novel by at times adopting a fabulist, almost cartoonish tone. For instance, he has a bit of fun with the names of the towns-people; the neighbourhood includes Miss Shorthand, Mrs Teachwell, Judge Omega, Father Saviour and Mrs Butcherhook. Written from the perspective of a child, In Search of the Blue Tiger is a strange, whimsical book about a boy desperate to make sense of a world where adults habitually lie.’
Thuy On, The Saturday Age, March 31
This debut novel was shortlisted for the manuscript section of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. Oscar lives in a town with his drunk, violent parents, and escapes into his imagination. A librarian helps him find books and he develops a crush on her. In this novel, parents sow what they reap from their children, with play-acting turning real, and murderous. Blue Tiger is dreamy, rich with observation and fine writing.
Lucy Sussex, The Sunday Age, April 22