The Toll Bridge

Aidan Chambers, Author, Aiden Chambers, Author
Aidan Chambers, Author, Aiden Chambers, Author Laura Geringer Book $14.95 (268p) ISBN 978-0-06-023598-7
Reviewed on: 07/03/1995
Release date: 07/01/1995
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4090-1281-8
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-8109-8358-8
Hardcover - 268 pages - 978-0-06-023599-4
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British writer Chambers (Dance on My Grave) stresses the ``adult'' in Young Adult in this finely calibrated novel. Along with its salty language and unreserved descriptions of sex, this work is informed by a sophisticated literary sensibility that will keep mature readers on their toes. Chambers twines themes from classical mythology and Kafka, crafting a haunting, multi-layered investigation of the mercurial nature of identity (serving this theme, for example, the three protagonists give one another new names). The bookish main narrator, Jan (short for Janus, the two-faced god of bridges)-formerly known as Piers-takes a job as the keeper of a toll bridge on a private estate far from his stultifying home. There he is befriended by Tess (originally Katharine), the caretaker's daughter. Enter Adam (birth name Aston), a roguishly handsome drifter, who moves into the gatekeeper's cottage with Jan, and the triangle is complete. Against his better judgment, Jan, like Tess, falls under Adam's spell. ``Not just because the sight of him turned me on but because I'm human,'' he explains. ``The fact is we're all succored by sex, and some of us are finally suckered by it too.'' A torrent of dramatic developments leads to a surprise resolution, in which Jan and Tess find out just how ``suckered'' they have been. Provocative in the best sense, this novel suggests even more than its intricate plot spells out, leaving readers with much for pleasurable contemplation. Ages 13-up. (June)
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