OASIS by Gregory Maguire


Age Range: 11 - 14
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 A young man's struggle with grief over the sudden death of his father is the central conflict in a novel that effortlessly illuminates the depth and strength of the human spirit. Hand Gunther blames himself for the death of his father, Rudy, of a heart attack; condemns his estranged mother, Clare, for returning to the family too late; and resents his sister Vida's eager forgiveness of Clare. As they struggle to keep afloat the family business--a rundown motel and ``Oasis'' of the title--the cold war between mother and son reaches a stalemate when a pair of Iranian refugees, Nur and his five-year-old son, Vuffy, appear on the doorstep, ready to take up a past offer of Rudy's to put the family up for a few days when they reached the US. In no time, Nur is busy repairing the rooms while Vuffy charms Hand out of his depression. The journey of Hand, a likable and intelligent teenager, toward a more adult and compassionate sensibility is realistically rendered by Maguire (Missing Sisters, 1994, etc.), and the resolution that Hand and his nondemonstrative mother reach is satisfying without becoming mawkish. An unusually understated, still-generous depiction of modern family life. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1996
ISBN: 0-395-67019-5
Page count: 166pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1996


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