THE RED JUDGE by Pauline Fisk


Age Range: 14 & up
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An upsetting scenario begins as realistic fiction and swirls into an old Welsh myth or a desperate dream state. Zed, unloved by his cold, rich family, is blamed (unfairly) for an accident that puts his sister in a coma. His parents banish him to his late grandmother’s abandoned house in a tiny Welsh village. Wracked with guilt, Zed sets out more than once through snow and ice to reach his sister, but his diligent trudging can’t cover the distance. A local magician and figures from Welsh mythology haunt him. One night, asleep in the snow, Zed pledges his own life to the mythological Red Judge in exchange for his sister’s. A week-long journey towards the sea culminates in a feverish trial involving everyone in Zed’s life, real and mythological. Is Zed healthy or ill, moving through the countryside or traveling inside his own mind? As fantasy, with the myth and magic literal, the ending feels weak and confusing; but considered as dream or hallucination, Fisk’s construction of Zed is brilliant. Haunting and provocative. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-58234-942-8
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2005


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