THE WHIRLING SHAPES by Joan North
Kirkus Star

THE WHIRLING SHAPES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The subject heading may be fantasy but the subject is inner reality, with more than an echo of the current rebellion against artifice and conformity. Liz, long and leggy and candid at fourteen, is the lever. On her arrival at the Farrells, she finds Aunt Paula occupied with endless committees, Uncle Charles abstracted, cousin Miranda sixteen, cheerful and dull, Great-aunt Hilda a comfortable and occasionally interesting eccentric. All ordinary enough--but what to make of the house in them heath that isn't always there? the thickening fog that can be seen only from inside the Farrells? the disappearance of cousin James Eastlake, painter of eminous grayish spirals? the gray whirling funnels, so like James' shapes, that dissolve Aunt Paula and Uncle Charles and threaten the others? the gradual disappearance of the city, the street, the house? At last there is no choice for the survivors but to proceed toward the soft, radiant, persuasive light which holds the answer to the true identity of each and a suggestion of salvation for all....Hardly a detail can be faulted: the style is graceful and fastidious, the dialogue means more than it says, the characterization recognizes contradictions and possibilities, the message is significant and timely (if perhaps over-explicit). There's a hint of the beauty in the span of life (Aunt Hilda), of the beauty in loving (Miranda and her Tom)--indeed, it's a beautiful book.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1967
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux