Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Paula Fox

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-531-06892-7
Publisher: Orchard

 Liam's father is dying of AIDS and despite the lies told to him about tainted blood transfusions, Liam, 13, knows how he got it. Three years ago he saw his father embracing another man on the beach, but he has buried the memory and kept silent about it ever since. At Thanksgiving he goes to the cabin where his father is living alone, to confront him about his destruction of himself and his family. Fox has succeeded in writing problem novels that transcend the form and are also outstanding literature, most notably in Monkey Island (1991). She is less successful this time. In these pages, the explication of the problem nearly overwhelms the sketchily drawn, unexpectedly remote characters and the plot, which, given its subject, is surprisingly unmoving. The prose is as beautifully constructed as ever, but this novel has little new to say, and feels somewhat formulaic as well: long troubled silence, angry confrontation, reconciliation, noble death. Fans will want to read this; it has its heart-wrenching moments, but ultimately founders and disappoints. (Fiction. 11+)