Kirkus Star


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This is a curiously beautiful, soft-key novel about a boyhood summer in Charleston, . C. in the 1980's. Omar Kohn, the boy, belongs to one of the ""fine old Jewish families"", his father is a famous local rose-grower. While the town waits, for the September Fort Sumter Day celebration, Omar and his best friend, Billy Cartwright, build a boat and listen to a Civil War Major's tales of the War. Omar, a budding poet, also meets a local minor poet- and falls in love with Billy's Northern cousin, Helen. The three children trail about through the heat among meticulously, lovingly detailed, already nostalgic scenes of small shops, streetcars, Negro domestics, fruit boats, local grown-up characters. But time, and weather alters many of the themes in Omar's life. The minor poet is finally seen as minor; Omar himself is changed by Helen; the Major becomes senile; and a hurricane lashes the town, destroying his father's roses. The boy, solitary in his storm-rocked room, thinks for the first time of pogroms, newer wars, and faces a different world....A first novel that is delightful reading, and in its quiet way, a small masterpiece.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1961
Publisher: Atheneum