THE ROAN COLT by Reginald Ottley


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Boy (p. 5, J-5) was a testament to the love that holds back loneliness; the harsh, isolated setting -- a cattle-station Outback in Australia -- and the few barely articulate characters supported the theme; the story began with a wallop, developed under tension, and ended by deciding the fate of a dog and a boy. Or so it seemed. Now we have a sequel to this self-contained, starkly fashioned slice of life. Mr. Ottley advances his avowed autobiography -- he is the boy-of-all-work without parents or peers -- a few months further. The boy acquires a saddle and learns, painfully; to ride; he shares in the elation of rounding up the horses. Then (on page 87 of the 154) he sees a handsome roan colt with a deformed hoof, learns that the colt is going to be shot, and conspires to hide it. The deception almost results in disaster, but the colt is spared and the boy gets it. Sounds simple -- and mostly it is. The boy's attachment to the horse comes too late, with too little gestation, to serve as the focal point of the story; his relationship with two aborigine girls is more fully realized. ""Me life goes around in a circle,"" the boy muses: it's a small, quiet circle that goes almost nowhere. Boy Alone stands alone.

Pub Date: Feb. 22nd, 1966
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World