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STRANDIA by Susan Lynn Reynolds


by Susan Lynn Reynolds

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 1991
ISBN: 0-374-37274-8
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 A first novel that presents an imaginary world with unusual creativity and intelligence. On the island of Strandia, the lordly raeth control the beaches, their telepathically gifted women garnering fish by summoning the dolphin-like doraado to herd them; only the less privileged midislanders engage in productive crafts. Sand, fugitive from an unwanted marriage with an overweening fellow-raeth, is hidden among the midislanders and learns to value them; captured and punished by being set adrift on the ``Mother'' (ocean), she lands on the ``Continent,'' learns that a tidal wave governed by a comet's rare appearance threatens Strandia, and returns to save her people. The writing is a bit uneven here, especially at the outset, but readers caught up in the exciting, carefully structured story aren't likely to notice occasional clumsy passages. Reynolds has invented a considerable vocabulary, nicely introduced by context; an ecology, including a seaweed used for birth control; a complex social structure that will make readers reevaluate their own with a fresh eye; even a mythology that cleverly parallels celestial events predicted by the sophisticated scholars on the Continent. Characters are briskly sketched; the unique relationship between Sand and her special doraado friend is delightful. The lively action is alternated with peaceful interludes that are even more entrancing; the touching but unhackneyed conclusion will especially please those who like to see a strong woman control her own destiny. A fine debut. (Fiction. 12+)