BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA by Avi

BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA

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Age Range: 11 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

From an author who's made a career of experimenting with different narrative structures comes this first sprawling tale in The Escape From Home books; it's done as a Victorian serial novel with a huge cast, and a multiplicity of short chapters setting out an episodic plot replete with chance meetings, narrow escapes, and dismaying revelations. Unable to bear the bullying of his older brother, Albert, Laurence Kirkle, 11, pockets a thousand pounds of his father's cash and runs into the London streets; meanwhile, two of Lord Kirkle's Irish tenants--Patrick, 12, and his older sister, Maura--flee their famine-struck village, intending to join their father in the US. The three quickly fall prey to the hazards of street life as they make their separate ways toward Liverpool, the great embarkation point. The supporting cast, urchins, rowdies, and entrepreneurs with names like Phineas Pickler and Toby Grout will be familiar to fans of Dickens and his literary descendants--and several characters are developed beyond the expected caricatures--but the melodrama is mild, and the ending is hardly the spectacular cliffhanger required of the genre. Many plot threads are left a- dangle; Avi (Poppy, 1995, etc.) promises a sequel but few readers will be chewing their nails waiting for it. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-531-09513-4
Page count: 294pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1996




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