THE STARVELING by Nina Warner Hooke


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Apparently only one of this prolific British author's books has travelled over here recently (Seal Summer, 1965) and in this novella. Miss Hooke again sketches out a human community through the plight of one animal this time a deserted female kitten. She pads her way hopefully toward human affection and care, the lively companionable doings of the village pace the minor crises of village souls. The cat's docile acceptance of its lot brings hardworking women together over backyard fences at cake and tea; the minister neatly inserts a cat-expulsion order as he intones; ""the stranger that is within thy gates""; children and a gentle teacher attempt to rescue her. But exclusive village mores chafe at outsiders, until a bitter and secluded spinster, whose fiance and family had been destroyed together with her faith in World War I, revivifies the abandoned animal and her own destitute feelings on Christmas Eve. This is just for that time of year, with a mistletoehold on sentiment, occasional Gallicoisms, but a happy sense of the tie that binds a rural community to its animals and one member to another.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1968
Publisher: John Day