The ELM at the Edge of the Earth

Robert D. Hale, Author W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (351p) ISBN 978-0-393-02861-4
This poignant, semiautobiographical first novel recreates a boy's formative experience in the county institution to which his severely ill mother, who is hospitalized, has temporarily farmed him out. Eight-year-old David's best friend there is inmate Rose, a proud Neapolitan who murdered her drunkard husband with a butcher knife. Another confidante, a black woman named Adeline, does fertility dances in the buff and makes a voodoo doll to effect revenge on a bully who taunts David. His bossy but doting Aunt Maude, the institution's head cook, and assorted relatives, residents and schoolmates teach David about kindness, cruelty, betrayal, courage, music, death, ghosts and caring for ducks in this unsentimental evocation of the Midwest between the world wars. Hale, former president of the American Booksellers Association, writes with warmth and gentle humor of a world that seems suspended in time. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
Paperback - 978-0-393-30977-5
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