The Mysterious Shin Shira, by G.E. Farrow, is a book of children’s stories about a guy who is occasionally forced to disappear and reappear elsewhere. It’s narrated by an writer of children’s books, apparently the author himself — some children in one of the stories credit him with having written a book of Farrow’s that’s mentioned on the title page.
When Shin Shira first meets the narrator and finds that he’s a writer, he asks, “What line? You don’t look very clever,” to which the narrator responds, “I only write books for children…and one doesn’t have to be very clever to do that.” I’m still not sure what to think about that, although I suppose the stories do seem as if they’ve been written by someone who thinks you don’t have to be clever to write children’s stories. Not that it’s bad, exactly. It’s just that most of its charm is unintentional. It’s as if the author doesn’t really know what makes fairy tales enjoyable, but stumbles on it by accident. There are children’s books where adults don’t really understand the magical things that are going on and it’s on purpose, but this isn’t one of those.