HIS BANNER OVER ME by Jean Little
Kirkus Star

HIS BANNER OVER ME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From the author of Bats About Baseball (p. 713) and so many other works, another example of exceptional storytelling, unforced and powerful. Here she carves slices of the family history of the Gaulds--Canadian missionaries in Taiwan--whose heroine is Little's mother. Readers meet her when she is five and living in Taiwan and follow her through the big and little episodes of her life, real and half-real, sad departures and happy reunions, her move to Canada at age nine, and another move to her aunt's as a young teenager, where she is surrounded by a crowd of brothers, sisters, and assorted relatives. The book ends when she is 17, after providing a sketch of everything that happened later. A work of fiction based on true events, Little's narrative is a complicated, remarkably cohesive work, with a variety of characters, emotions, settings, and ideas. Little gives the impression--because she does not try to fill in all the events, but simply lands here and there, and because she does not flesh out the characters, but rather talks about them as if they are people readers already know--that the stories are part of much larger context. The book becomes steadily more difficult to put down; the ease with which the narrative unfolds, the confidence with which Little avoids unnecessary explanations, and the sense of authority with which she takes any liberty she wants--it's extraordinary.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0140377611
Page count: 207pp
Publisher: Viking