Frenchtown Summer

Robert Cormier, Author
Robert Cormier, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $16.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-385-32704-6
Reviewed on: 08/30/1999
Release date: 09/01/1999
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-8256-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-8422-3
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-21200-7
Prebound-Glued - 128 pages - 978-0-613-33808-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 128 pages - 978-0-440-22854-7
Prebound-Glued - 113 pages - 978-0-7569-0487-6
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More wistful but equally as haunting as Cormier's usual fare, this novel in verse shapes an impressionistic portrait of a lonely, keenly observant boy living in post-WWI Frenchtown (also the setting for the novel Fade). Twelve-year-old Eugene finds his father enigmatic and distant: ""My father was a silhouette,/ as if obscured/ by a light shining behind him./ He was closer to me waving from the street/ than nearby in the tenement/ or walking beside me."" While hoping for some sign of paternal love or approval, Eugene quietly and contemplatively penetrates the secrets of Frenchtown. He watches as Mrs. Cartin contemplates taking a leap from the third-floor, stands by as a one-time friend becomes an outcast after a bout with St. Vitus' dance and connects his favorite uncle to an unsolved murder case. Every observation implies mystery and hidden dramas; while the short verse chapters seem less plot-driven than Cormier fans may expect, they subtly convey the shadows in Frenchtown and the action those shadows conceal. Feeling ""as transparent as rain,"" Eugene is a ghostly presence here, taking readers back in time and slowly mesmerizing them with his memories of coming of age. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
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