GYPSYWORLD by Julian F. Thompson


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In a thinly disguised ecological diatribe, five urban teenagers are kidnapped and taken to a remote (out of this world, actually, though that's not revealed till much later) utopian community as test cases: Can they reform the way they treat their planet and each other? How they are supposed to do this remains a mystery; their situation is not explained to them until well into the story, and, except for their closemouthed captors, they are kept in isolation. The young people escape and spend several days wandering through semicultivated ""agroforest"" before being recaptured, meanwhile developing a sense of group solidarity and listening to a ""gypsy"" who serves as the author's mouthpiece. Thompson devotes much more attention to this group sense than to individual personalities, internal logic, or niceties of background detail; he may get readers to wonder what they would cio if called on to represent all of humanity, but presents his alternative society in the vaguest terms and offers his characters no compelling reasons to alter their behavior. In the end, given a chance to choose an escape vehicle, they select bicycles rather than an automobile--which earns them an invitation to stay in Gypsyworld. An overearnest effort, lacking the play of ideas and comic touches of the author's Goofbang Value Daze (1989) and Herb Seasoning (1990).

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
Page count: 227pp
Publisher: Henry Holt