Age Range: 14 & up
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Intense and philosophical journey from nihilism to hope in a surreal runaway story. Napoleon Taal believes in Death and hates stinking, fascist Adults. He flees to the city, leaving behind good-girl girlfriend and abusive father, and searches for community in the mad world of street children. One children’s gang speaks of love, purity, and a Children’s Crusade against corruption and evil, but the young members carry guns that lead to their inevitable destruction. The lovely Sammie, a 15-year-old who seems much older, seeks culture and art in a prostitute’s world. Napoleon’s love cannot save her from the cold horror of heroin. Like Napoleon, the street children all have passionate theories of life: sometimes beautiful, sometimes horrifying, often contradictory. Napoleon’s efforts to survive in the streets are spiced with his emergence from self-destruction and hatred. An old story told with new fervor and a fascinating magical-realist voice. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-054155-5
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2003