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FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW by Julia Cunningham


by Julia Cunningham

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1981
ISBN: 0394945018
Publisher: Pantheon

Once again in this story of love among the waifs of Paris, Cunningham deals in pathos and sentimental stereotype. The sparrow of the title is a nine-year-old who is sprung from an orphanage by a sympathetic older boy, Mago. As she has no name Mago gives her a "tough" one, "Little Cigarette." He then takes her to live in an abandoned apartment with him and his two other charges, a dying girl who soon commits suicide and a retarded boy. When the boy, Drollant, breaks his leg and Mago wants money to put him in a private clinic, Cigarette agrees to steal a valuable painting. Her subsequent need to lay low, coupled with her guilt over violating the trust and friendship of the painting's owner, take her on an odyssey during which she is befriended by kind ladies, threatened by a "witch woman," and joined by a little dog. In the end the wronged man forgives her; Mago dies trying to protect her from Eel, the evil youth who arranged the theft; and she is free to return to the most inviting of the kind ladies and lead a normal life. Cunningham has curbed her excessive poeticizing here, but her imagination remains aquiver with maudlin frissons.