THE WING AND THE FLAME by Emily Hanlon

THE WING AND THE FLAME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Why has Owen Cassell, the old hermit of Stoneface Mountain, taken to watching 14-year-old Eric as he rides his bike around town? It turns out that Owen is a sculptor who lost his wife and son in a fire years earlier. He has since been engaged in carving their likenesses in stone and is interested in Eric as a model because of his resemblance to the son. Eric becomes fascinated with the ""stone people"" and Eric and Owen become close, despite Eric's parents' suspicions of the ""seedy looking"" old man and his best friend Chris' jealousy. The parents are appeased by an unintentionally banal talk by Owen on the love between him and Eric; but the relationship with Chris is complicated by a homosexual encounter between the two boys in a Stoneface Mountain cave that reverberates with other-worldly atmosphere. All of this is told in flashback as Eric and Chris, on vacation from different colleges, meet five years later in the same cave where they now find Owen's dead body and a will leaving his property to Eric. After Owen's motivation is cleared up, his part of the story becomes burdened with sentimentality, and the suspense shifts to the relationship with Chris. This has a natural ring until it comes to a head, but Hanlon as well as Eric is a little stiff thereafter. Overall one has the impression of earnest intention but limited acuity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1981
ISBN: 0595169104
Publisher: Bradbury--dist. by Dutton