Flight of the Albatross

Deborah Savage, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $14.95 (258p) ISBN 978-0-395-45711-5
In addition to presenting one of this season's most breathless accounts of first love, Savage's first book since A Rumour of Otters chronicles the continuing clash of old Maori custom with current New Zealand culture. New Yorker Sarah decides to spend a conciliatory summer with her mother, a respected scientist living in New Zealand, but finds herself constantly left alone and regrets her decision from the moment she arrives. Committing herself to her flute-playing (as her mother has committed herself to science to the exclusion of family and everything else) is all Sarah wants. But her very first meeting with a Maori boy, Mako, promises a special friendship; their lives become inadvertently and irrevocably entwined with that of an old mystical woman who recognizes the roles they are to play in fulfilling a prophesy. Whether readers go along with the spiritual aspects of this story doesn't matter; the power of Savage's writing--of landscapes, people, lives and desires--builds steadily from the first page, picking up speed as it moves toward a terrific denouement. Various plot threads swirl effortlessly through the narrative, and when the story closes on an appropriately wistful note, readers will wish for the chance to meet Sarah and Mako again. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Genre: Children's
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