THE RAPE OF THE ROSE

Like this English author's The Antique Collector (1991), another darkly original novel, this one set among the infernal mills of newly industrializing Yorkshire during the hapless, scattered, Luddite worker rebellions, circa 1812-16. Above the horrendous cruelty, stupidity, and bubbling ambition among people of all castes struggling to cope with a new age, Hughes, here, skims off an improbable love affair between a schoolmaster/weaver doomed to inconsequence and a dying, redheaded, desperately coping prostitute. The workers' raid in honor of ``King Ludd'' has failed; and Mor, always suspect because of his (potentially subversive) learning, leaves his village and the starving family he cannot save—his wife (forever frozen in dry fear), one son already crippled by the mill, and the nine-year-old Edwin, already a dawn-to-dusk factory sacrifice—and finds Mary, with whom he trades guilty secrets. With betrayal a sport as well as a livelihood (a so-kind elderly couple turn in Edwin and Margaret, two abused escaping factory waifs), the lovers ``can't betray each other.'' Mor's trek with Mary among soldiers, a mill owner, and a cynical general is through dangerous waters, while the savagery of child abuse, the stranglehold of petty officials on the poor, and a feral injustice set the pace. Finally, all are betrayed—by their innocence, by the times. At the close, Mary, pregnant by Mor, presses on to what she visualizes as her own peaceful valley (after sending little Margaret off to what she hopes will be an elegant life in her old whorehouse), and Mor, his immortality gone when his manuscript of grievances is burnt, is forced into the army. And the Revolution? ``For one who suffers, 'opes. And one who 'opes, believes.'' Through the pall of man-made misery, Hughes darts the blood red of nature and human love. A bitter, bright, and moving novel.

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-72516-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1992

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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