THE TRUE MEN by Mary Q. Steele


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Something strange and terrible has ""happened"" to Ree, but it isn't until the close of chapter three, after he's been driven away from his home among the True Men, that we learn what Ree's problem is--his skin has suddenly begun to glow in the dark! Fearful that others will discover his secret affliction, Ree wanders alone through mountains shaken by earthquakes to the desolate Stone Towns whose inhabitants are governed by fear and suspicion, then stops at a cabin in the woods where a lone woman lives preoccupied with her garden and bird-feeding, and finally travels to a crowded market with Renka and Lastra, two weavers who think about nothing but their work. Ree is menaced by a family of traveling magicians who want to turn him into a profitable exhibit and, after finding no place where he can belong, he returns to his native High Plains to demand that the True Men either take him back into the fold or kill him. That's where Ree's saga ends, with his fate still undecided. Steele clearly approves of Ree's choice--to accept himself and demand his rightful place whatever the cost--and has created a compellingly eerie landscape (there are all sorts of marvelous beasts and plants) as a background for his odyssey. Like other Mary Steele books, tiffs one is a philosophical puzzle that invites solutions, but Ree's passivity and the narrative's air of chilling detachment are dramatic weaknesses, guaranteeing that whatever explanations one chooses to impose on this fable will be emotionally unsatisfying.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 1976
Publisher: Greenwillow/Morrow