WOLF by Gillian Cross


Age Range: 12 & up
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 The author of Roscoe's Leap (1987) and A Map of Nowhere (1989) again explores universal themes through thrilling, pivotal events in the life of a teenager with a traumatic background. Cassy has been raised by her father's stern mother, Nan, with occasional visits to her own feckless mum, Goldie; each maintains an unbroken silence about her absent father, whom she barely remembers. Suddenly, Nan sends Cassy for an extended stay with Goldie--who has moved. Alone, Cassy tracks her down--Goldie is ``squatting'' in an abandoned building with a black man, Lyall, and his son. Despite this squalor, the three make a living with innovative programs for schools: combinations of fact and fiction, drama and story, skillfully blended to challenge stereotypes and spark original thinking. Their latest subject, resonant with social significance and symbolic ambiguities, is the wolf. Haunted by nightmares in which Red Riding Hood's story is recast by her own fears, and conditioned by Nan to think of work and play (including acting) as alien realms, Cassy is threatened by both the subject and Lyall's ebullient creativity. Meanwhile, she learns that her father is an IRA bomber whom Nan has been protecting--a ``wolf'' whose perverted territorial instinct leads only to destruction, even of his own family. Weaving memorably offbeat yet believable characters, extraordinary events, and contemporary issues, Cross once again confronts classic verities in a stunningly original, splendidly crafted story. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-8234-0870-1
Page count: 140pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1991


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