THE ISLAND THROUGH THE GATE by Sven Christer Swahn

THE ISLAND THROUGH THE GATE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

When young Michael is swept away from a Brittany beach on an air mattress, one fully expects him to float completely beyond the realm of reality and Swahn effectively exploits this conventional fantasy beginning to make the isolated superstition-bound Breton island of Oberour-ar-Maro (or Devil's Henchman in English) all the more terrifying. Devil's Henchman has a practicing sorcerer -- the misfit Gourven who turned to fortunetelling because seasickness made him unfit for life as a fisherman, and Gourven's prediction that Michael will be unable to leave the island is soon borne out by a series of accidents that leave the villagers terrified and eventually enable the defiant Michael to take over Gouvren's role as the island's seer. In some ways Gourven proves all too human -- the ""payment"" he demands from Michael turns out to be the air mattress from which he hopes to fashion a charm against seasickness, but then Michael does sight the phantom ship of darkness three times with terrifying results, and the fog of the supernatural that hangs over Michael's stay there and eventual escape transforms an otherwise slight adventure into one that is mystifyingly and satisfyingly ambiguous.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1974
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Macmillan