Herman

Lars Saabye Christensen, Author, Steven Nordby, Translator
Lars Saabye Christensen, Author, Steven Nordby, Translator White Pine Press (NY) $12 (186p) ISBN 978-1-877727-24-5
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 183 pages - 978-0-09-949827-8
Paperback - 183 pages - 978-1-905147-00-7
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Poor Herman--has he got troubles. The bullies in his class make his life hell after school; the red-haired girl he likes humiliates him; his gym teacher calls him a sissy for failing at rope climbing; and all his hair is falling out from a mysterious illness that neither the doctor nor his parents will fully explain to him. Herman is furious at his parents for not understanding him and broods about his hair loss. But when his sick grandfather dies, the boy realizes there are bigger losses than his in the world and begins growing up. This is a tragicomic coming-of-age story--one that straddles the adult/young adult market--told from the perspective of an imaginative, funny kid. On seeing a pigeon in the rain, Herman thinks, ``Birds are lucky not to need raincoats and hats. . . . But if it rains for forty days, like in Africa, then maybe they have to use life vests and snorkels?'' Though Herman's mother gets superficial treatment, and some of Herman's jokes wear thin with repetition, the author enjoys extending the boy's imagination. Christensen ( The Joker ) uses fresh imagery and lyrical prose, while the translator gives readers a solid feel for Norway's language and culture. Film rights to RKO Pictures. (Dec.)
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