HILARION by Daniel Curley


Email this review


The four men from Linsk have failed to find jobs in America and are sitting about dejectedly when a young giant from their native village appears at their door, bringing gifts from home, a ""merry"" laugh, and a rash of good luck. The lad, called Hilarion for no good reason except that (we're told) the name came to the author in a dream, is soon offered a job in his trade (watchmaking); but it takes him several days to report for work because each time the goodhearted giant sets out, he gets sidetracked in a rescue operation. He saves a child from being caught under a mud-bound brewer's wagon, saves the mayor from kidnappers, helps a blind musician who mistakes Hilarion, in his bear coat, for a dancing bear, apprehends two bank robbers, and finally saves a whole streetcar full of people from hijackers (""We're taking this car to Philadelphia"")--whose time bomb Hilarion mistakes for a clock. All these encounters occur through a total language barrier, and there's a funny scene on the streetcar (which all of Hilarion's rescuees happen to be riding) in which the little girl from the brewer's wagon supplies creative translations and all four men from Linsk end up with jobs. Unfortunately, though, the comedy is slow to take hold and Hilarion seems too arbitrarily assembled to click, even as a folk-type figure.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1980
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin