JEREMY VISICK by David Wiseman
Kirkus Star


Email this review


A bone-deep blend of human history (specifically, the lives and early deaths of 19th-century Cornish miners), present-day domestic reality (as lived in one comer of rural Cornwall), and the subtle but compelling supernatural forces that bring the two together. At school, Matthew Clemens' class is assigned the task of researching the Martin family buried in the graveyard near the Clemens home--but it's the Visick tombstone, marking a father and two sons killed in a mine disaster in 1852, that grips Matthew. In a sort of trance, he reads on the stone of a fourth, twelve-year-old Visick, Jeremy, reported missing in the same disaster. No one else can see these last lines on the stone, but a local history buff confirms their troth. Then, during an inordinate number of middle-of-the-night forays and sleep walks, Matthew finds himself in touch with the 19th-century family. The story climaxes impressively with Matthew in the mine with the Visicks, witnessing the three men's deaths and trying desperately to bring Jeremy ""to grass."" Meanwhile Matthew is missing from the present time; worried parents and others comb the countryside; and when he's found, so is the long-missing skeleton of Jeremy Visick--""brought to grass"" at last. From the beginning, the local presence and the sense of the local past are almost tangible, so that Matthew slips in and out of the 19th century without a visible seam in the story's fabric. The ending lives up to, the expectations Wiseman has aroused, satisfying the demands of the supernatural without violating the requirements of reality.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1981
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin