THE SILENT ONE by Joy Cowley


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The Silent One is deaf, twelve-year-old foundling Jonasi--a pariah on his South Pacific island because the superstitious local folk ascribe sinister powers to him. His comfort is the sea, and now he has a second: a white turtle--a ""demon"" too?--that has taken to following him. Chiefs son Aesake, who has been away to school, knows that deafness is a natural condition and that the white turtle may be an albino; but he recognizes that the danger to Jonasi is also real (once, the islanders are about to use him for bait to catch the turtle)--so it's arranged for Jonasi to be sent away to a school for the deaf. Aboard the departing ship, however, the Native Affairs officer spies the white turtle following and wants it caught for its monetary value. As the man rages, Jonasi jumps overboard, and turtle and boy disappear. Some sense of locale (Cowley is a New Zealander), but otherwise totally fiat--conventionally lyrical and conventionally maudlin.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1981
Publisher: Knopf