Age Range: 10 - 14
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After both her parents die in an accident, Anthea goes to live with her uncle Lionel in the house where she used to visit her grandfather--a busy country house stalled halfway through its renovation because Lionel can't face making changes in the space that belonged to his dead father. Anthea, too, is haunted by the need for a space of her own in the midst of this lively family; even her bedroom has a temporary hole into cousin Flora's room. After discovering a stereoscope that once belonged to her grandfather's brother ("dead Henry"), she has dreams about a fantastic world, Viridian, that blends the stereoscopic scenes with her own grief and disorientation, unresolved family history, and the real coastal New Zealand site of her new home. In the dream world, Henry almost lures her to her death; but Flora, who is becoming a true friend, and Lionel's wife Molly, a wholesomely nurturing character, pull her back to life while the brother-ghosts both go on their way. Mahy's unique characters and interwoven themes are always of interest, but this story is less taut than her best work, while some of its more intriguing ideas (the real world is full of untidy life: the messy hens lay eggs, quarrels lead to creative new accommodations; in Viridian, the dump contains the truly dead: washing machines for which no new parts are made, empty ball-point pens) will be of most interest to adults. Still, better-than-average fantasy that fans will be delighted to read. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1991
ISBN: 014034571X
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1991


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