A FEAST OF LIGHT by Gunille Norris


Email this review


Maye naym is Ulla Lundgren. Aye duh nut unnerstan Eenglish""--repeating Papa's lesson. Ulla forgets for a moment her fear of a new school and a strange language, and giggles. But tears swamp smiles for a long time as the formerly outgoing ten-year-old struggles to keep up in class, gives up on making friends: a perceptive reminder that it's not her""eyesore house"" or her ""funny clothes"" that set her apart but herself is the turning point and the Santa Lucia celebration, the feast of light, is the climax. The observance is only incidentally a Swedish custom; primarily it's family fun she can share with her new friend, setting this apart from the usual mutual appreciation messages. A few episodes are especially well-handled: Ulla looking at her classmate's paper because she can't keep up with the teacher's dictation on a spelling test and being taunted for cheating, her demonstration to the classmate that Swedish words would sound equally strange to her. Told with vivacity and warmth and piquant detail, marred only by the ubiquitous understanding old lady and an extended comparison between children and plants, this is a likable addition to the never-too-long list of successful adjustments and it's thoroughly contemporary.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1967
Publisher: Knopf