THE CRYSTAL APPLE: A Russian Tale by Beverly Brodsky McDermott


Email this review


In a Russian variation on the motif of three sisters who request gifts from their traveling father, Marusha's prize is a crystal apple in which she sees cathedrals, forests, undersea life and other wonders. Then one night her sisters Sasha and Masha take the apple, see nothing, shake and spin it ""until--Oh!"" Presumably the jagged squiggles on the page signify that the apple is broken for ""The next day Marusha cried""--until she understands that she has the precious gift of imagination without the crystal; then ""she forgave her sisters and was sad for them."" Mrs. McDermott evidently hopes to compensate for the thin telling and the most unfolkloric banality of the ending with a dazzling visual kaleidoscope, but unfortunately the pictures both overwhelm the story and share its weaknesses. With their geometric abstractions but softer colors and curves, they could be viewed as a feminine version of Gerald McDermott's work, except that there's a cotton candy stickiness to the rainbow colors and a shallow, amateurish quality to the semistylized faces and figures.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1974
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Viking