STONEFLIGHT by Georgess McHargue


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There is a direct connection between Janey's flat, unhappy and oppressively muggy summer in New York and her compensatory fantasy about the stone griffin on her Morningside Heights roof, and McHargue is a bit heavyhanded in emphasizing that Janey retreats to the talking Griff whenever the tension and bickering between her parents become too unsettling. At the same time the discrepancy between the flat narration of boring everyday detail and the reported ecstasy Janey experiences with Griff make both worlds, at least at first, a bit hollow and unconvincing. The one link between them is Janey's project, arising from a preexisting interest in sculpture and inspired by a library lecture, of sketching architectural ornaments and gargoyles on buildings around the city. The fantasy culminates in a climactic Gathering when Janey, who finds she has the power to make the stone carvings ""quick,"" summons them to the Sheep Meadow where they form a ceremonial circle (""for making things come together""), and then -- generating a certain measure of appropriate terror even though Griff has already made it clear to Janey that he and the rest of them live only in her mind -- attempt to make her one of them forever. A sympathetic uncle helps Janey to see her sketching as a strength and a refuge so that she can resist the stone creatures' temptation, and it is Uncle Arthur more than the magic circle who brings Mother and Dad at least tentatively together. By this time the elements of the story too have fallen satisfactorily into place. Half quick.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1975
Publisher: Viking