LISTENING AT THE GATE by Betsy James

LISTENING AT THE GATE

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

This wondrous and mournful epic uses myth and song to carve the weight of the world. Lonely Kat, raised by a cruelly puritanical father, sings a man out of the sea without knowing the implications. The man is one of the Rigi, a people portrayed in Kat’s culture as legend, but actually fully alive, resembling selkies, but more complex. Kat and Nall become the center of a war between desperate cultures, including the Rigi, the many land tribes and the repressed and brutal Leaguemen who control money and murder. Kat and Nall journey together to the Rigi and then to the Gate in the ocean, where everything on earth passes through as it comes into being. James’s heavily romantic tale never romanticizes, burdening love and life with warmth but also doom. Stunning philosophical insights emerge while myths, songs, chants and hand slaps show groundedness and culture. James shatters certain key expectations yet remains profoundly archetypal—full of pain, beauty and heft. (glossaries, author’s notes) (Fantasy. YA)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-689-85068-9
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2006




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