Gideon Ahoy!

William Mayne, Author Delacorte Press $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-440-50126-8
Mayne's All the King's Men showed off his mastery of the short story form as well as his riveting poetic style, all accomplished in a period setting. This new book stands in contrast to that one: a contemporary novel about a family nearly consumed by the special demands placed on it by one of its members. Gideon is deaf and brain-damaged, unable to communicate except in barked words of his own creation, understood only by his sister Eve and his parents. Eve compares his separate world with that of her younger sister and brother, Tansy and Mercury, who share secret lives and exclude the rest of the family. When Gideon begins to work on the nearby canal, he proves himself capable at specific tasksopening and closing locks, commanding the respect of the others by his cheerful grasp of his work. But his is not a carefree lifehe doesn't discriminate between danger and safety, a fact that gives his family cause for alarm on several occasions. Mayne has drawn an elegant portrait of the family; each member struggles to be fair to Gideon and to one another by practicing a sort of non-limiting love. Gideon emerges, from the opening page, as a full human being, communicating to the best of his abilities. His personality defines each member of the family; that Mayne evokes this understanding shows the great subtlety of his writing. Readers will not fail to be moved. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Hardcover - 155 pages - 978-0-670-81165-6
Hardcover - 160 pages - 978-0-385-29692-2
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