Thursday's Child) again captures the ineffable fragility of childhood in this keenly observed tale set in 1977 in her native Australia. Adrian has o"/>

WHAT THE BIRDS SEE

Sonya Hartnett, Author . Candlewick $15.99 (196p) ISBN 978-0-7636-2092-9

Hartnett (Thursday's Child) again captures the ineffable fragility of childhood in this keenly observed tale set in 1977 in her native Australia. Adrian has one school friend and many secret fears, including tidal waves, sea monsters, quicksand and being abandoned ("Everybody leaves me. I'm not allowed to be anywhere," he laments). Taken away from his (apparently) mentally ill mother, and unwanted by his father, nine-year-old Adrian lives with his grandmother and traumatized, agoraphobic uncle. The boy becomes transfixed by the story of three siblings in a nearby suburb who went out for ice cream and disappeared; he wonders why ordinary children like himself might have been "worth taking or wanting, a desirable thing." As the title indirectly suggests, the author maintains an omniscient, bird's-eye perspective, taking in not only Adrian's experiences but the feelings of his grandmother and uncle, some information about the new family next door (it includes three children and a desperately ill mother) and news of the missing children. The measured distance Hartnett puts between readers and Adrian allows her to introduce a tragic climax that neither manipulates nor (likely) devastates the audience. Sophisticated readers will appreciate the work's acuity and poetic integrity. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/27/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.