WHERE THE ELF KING SINGS by Judie Wolkoff

WHERE THE ELF KING SINGS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bill Breckenridge has ""blue funks""--drunken bouts to drown out ""flashbacks"" to Vietnam, and to a buddy's death for which he blames himself. He loses his job, smashes things around the house, frightens the kids: twelve-year-old Marcie and six-year-old David. His wife throws him out. Meanwhile, in a far-fetched subplot, Marcie and David make friends with fey old Mrs. King. Considered the ""town loon,"" she spends much time tending the graves of friends and relations who, as she puts it, ""became angels."" She also teaches Marcie and David advanced yoga techniques and fills them with such wisdom as ""A fib can give you the great gift of escape"" and ""At your age, one should never despair. . . . One should reach out for moonbeams and shooting stars."" When Daddy disappears, it is to the grave of the Vietnam buddy, where Mrs. King saves him from a waterfall and succors him with hot cider soup. Now he realizes he needs straightening out, and signs himself into a VA hospital. Concurrently, a rap-group friend of his regales Marcie and her mother with a truly gory recitation of the killing and maiming in Vietnam. Though the novel ends with Daddy on the mend, it's both depressing and uninvolving because the children are merely victims, incapable of effective action on their own behalf.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Bradbury