THE KID by John Seelye


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Another case of the over-directed author attempting to disguise his mythic literary pretensions and weighty social-moral concerns by placing his very '50's liberal aphorisms (""The soldiers finally won and the Injuns lost, but they was both losers if you ask me"") within the run-on sentences of the self-consciously unself-conscious narrator. This phony, attempted naturalism contrasts badly with the symbolic tale of the blond boy (actually woman -- actually Billy Budd) and the deaf-mute ""African"" with miraculous powers (detecting gold, water, and cheating at cards) whose innocence destroys both themselves and the two-bit town they wander into on their search for the Universal Promise (i.e., American Dream), in this case sheepherding. Important themes like race, greed, sex (the narrator was emasculated by the Indians), and the nature of justice appear with depressing regularity in the discourses of the townspeople, types rather than individuals, whom the author blithely patronizes nearly as much as his readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1971
ISBN: 0803291310
Publisher: Viking