OMAR AT CHRISTMAS by Edgar White

OMAR AT CHRISTMAS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the same quietly acute prose and rough, bold woodcuts we remember from Sati the Rastifarian (KR, p. 7) White and McCannon project Omar's Christmas Eve outing from his home in the Bronx to an apartment in the East 70's where his mother works as a domestic. First there is the walk in the cold, his mother's ""body bent like a black tree in the wind"" (later the trees in Central Park are pictured as horned black human figures ""putting on white""), then the subway and elevator rides, the work helping his mother clean the kitchen and shop for a dinner party, the apartment's library where he finds a book with pictures of Africa and India, and at last the arrival of his mother's employers who ask Omar what he wants for Christmas. ""No, he ain't going to give you a million dollars, Omar thought. Better ask for the book. . . 'Then you may have it,' said Mr. Banks."" There's no imposed viewpoint in the telling, just a question here ("" 'Why do you have to cook for these people?' Omar asked. 'Because they old. Besides they rich' ""), an observation there (""Why you so tired, Mom? Why do you always have to be so tired?"") -- and it ends on an upbeat with a million bells ringing and a fantasy of flight as Omar and his mother ride home on the bus.

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 1973
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard