Books by Ruth Park

MY SISTER SIF by Ruth Park
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 1991

In another beautifully written story by the author of Playing Beattie Bow (1982), an adult Erika (``Riko'') narrates events in 2000 A.D. when she was 14, imaginatively linking environmental concerns with a plausible explanation of mermaids as humans with special adaptations (e.g., webbed fingers), but with lungs and sophisticated technology to maintain their undersea cities; the ``tail'' is a sort of wet suit. Daughters of a mermaid (Marika) and a Scandinavian seaman, Riko and Sif, 17, are unhappily living with a bossy older sister in Australia; until their father's death, they had lived on an island near Tahiti, where they were friends with dolphins and could visit their mother. Riko plans to become a marine biologist, but Sif pines for the sea; deeply concerned, Riko contrives to take her back to their beloved paradise. They find it threatened by man's depredations: whales and porpoises are tragically born dead; the sea people plan to migrate to a cold, desolate, but safer place, and Marika wants Sif to join them. Sif is torn: she realizes how precious she is to Riko and has also fallen in love with Henry, a young scientist they have both learned to trust. Like many of the poignantly evoked sea creatures, Sif doesn't survive, losing her life in a dramatic undersea climax. In a final chapter/epilogue, people are finally stirred by the earth's impending death (and by Henry and Riko's well-informed pleas) to give up their greed and begin to reclaim their environment. A compelling novel with unique, memorable characters and a thoughtful message. (Fiction. 11+) Read full book review >