MONA MINIM AND THE SMELL OF THE SUN by Janet Frame

MONA MINIM AND THE SMELL OF THE SUN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Couched in a sportive masquerade of ant life is the stringent irony that the ""smell of the sun"" sought by Mona and the other young ants is a brief, fleeting freedom for the few who gain it: the new Queen, set apart by her wings, ends Swarm Day consuming them in earth-bound, egg-tending isolation, and the male who mated with her ""dies because he won the race."" This realization marks Mona's passage to maturity; before, and for the greater part of the story, she is little Mona the House Ant making her first journey Outside, falling through a crack in the stairs, adopted as a sister by Garden Ant Barbara, educated abundantly (a little quirk of the book's) by her new relatives, then called upon to rescue Barbara from Ant Farm captivity in the house. The confrontation with Barbara--now a Queen-elect who doesn't know her fate but wouldn't change it--is one of the book's best moments, and one of the few times when fantasy and allegory coalesce completely. Despite the author's renown as a novelist, much of the make-believe doesn't make it.

Pub Date: May 12th, 1969
ISBN: 0807613347
Publisher: Braziller