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
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.)
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X