TO TELL MY PEOPLE by Madeleine Polland


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At twelve Lumna knows there must be something beyond the lake, and her grandmother encourages a belief in ""gods"" although the others regard the girl as a half-witted dreamer. When she stumbles on some exploring Romans she mistakes them for gods, then learns to laugh with them--the good humor of the company is in marked contrast to her own (British) people's cheerlessness. She gets to winter in Rome, discovers all the wonders friend (and fellow slave) Cassilus described--the hills, the columns, the wealth--and longs to tell her people what's beyond their myopic horizons. Sometimes questionably but usually with imagination the author interprets the girl's thoughts and actions: the long clean fingers of a tribune, the realization that her people are dirty (but not savages, she protests), the joy in being a girl (even if a slave) in a Roman household. She does go home again and, Cassandra-like, tries to warn of Caesar's intended invasion, watches as her people face the overpowering legions of an unnecessary enemy. The, chilling irony: the lake people rejoice that the Romans are mortal--they can be slaughtered. It's a histomap rather than a happening, an exploration of a precocious adolescent's mind with barely enough support from her associates to make the experience vivid and involving.

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 1968
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston