cover image The Moonlight Man

The Moonlight Man

Paula Fox. Bradbury Press, $12.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-735480-5

A new Paula Fox novel is always a cause for celebrationshe is one of America's most talented writers. Her past books for young adults (One-Eyed Cat, The Slave Dancer, A Place Apart, et al.) have won her numerous awards, including the Newbery Medal, and her latest ranks as one of the best she's ever written. Looking forward to spending the summer with the father she barely knows, 15-year-old Catherine is left to wait for three long weeks at her Montreal boarding school, with no word from him to explain his absence. Finally he calls, and she meets him in Nova Scotia, beginning an extraordinary summer. Harry Ames is elegant, poetic, mysterious, quixotica complex figure Catherine ""studies like a book.'' Her parents were divorced when she was three; she wants to see what it was in her father that her mother once loved. It wasn't his drinkingHarry goes on binges that horrify and repulse Catherine; it wasn't his facile ability to lie; it wasn't the way ``he thrived on chaos.'' But she learns that he takes nothing in life for granted; he challenges her to examine her perceptions and actions carefully. Fox's subtle use of language and unique storytelling gifts create a world so complete and so rich that the reader hates to leave it. At one point, Catherine reflects that her father ``seemed about to lead her into a dance to music she had never heard.'' This story, too, is music as we only rarely hear it. (12-up)