INTO THE DARK by Nicholas Wilde


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Matthew's blindness plays a unique role in his splendid vacation near the sea, thanks to Roly--his obliging new (dead) friend. The two, who meet in a cemetery, hit it off immediately. Roly, only a voice to Matthew, eagerly volunteers to lead him through the salt marshes, to the beach, even into the local, derelict mansion. Strangely reticent about himself and haunted by a mysterious melancholy, Roly steadfastly refuses to talk to Matthew's mother, or to anyone other than Matthew. Alert readers will cotton on fairly early to the fact that Roly is a ghost; Wilde provides plenty of hints. Matthew finally figures it out too, and--in a dramatic confrontation--learns that Roly has been waiting exactly a century for release from the guilt of causing his best friend's death. Though reluctant to lose this good friend, Matthew sets him free by granting him forgiveness. Matthew's continuing ignorance of Roly's true nature provides a satisfying amount of ironic suspense; Wilde establishes an unusual--and unusually vivid--sense of place through a blind person's senses; and the relationship between Matthew and his mother is a believable combination of familiarity and tension. Above average.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1990
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Scholastic