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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Oasis by Gregory Maguire 
18th-Mar-2006 01:38 pm
I would MUCH rather be reading about not-so-wicked witches right now than about coping with death and dying. But it was not to be--for the usual reasons. At least I know now that Maguire's prose is bearable.

Maguire, Gregory. Oasis. New York: Clarion, 1996.
Summary: Little does thirteen-year-old Hand Gunther suspect that, after his father dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, his problems are just beginning. His mother has returned after a mysterious three-year absence, eager to intent to resume where she left off and renovate the Gunther's rundown motel. Meanwhile, an Iranian refugee and his son, as well as Hand's gay uncle Wolfgang, who is dying of AIDS, come to stay at Oasis. As the year progresses, Hand learns to accept human complexity and forgive.
Comments: Better-written than I expected. Though the prose and narrative style are totally conventional, the characters, in all of their well-justified pains and excuses and pleasures, are completely believable. The novel also, again in gracefully unassuming, quiet fashion, takes for granted acceptance and even the possibility of love given to and received from "others"--in this case Muslims and homosexuals. Perhaps it helped that the story supposedly took place in Western Massachusetts. I could easily imagine it. (And are "Radley" and "Alonquit Falls" actually Hadley and Chicopee Falls, or am I just fooling myself?) Anyway, the moral of the story? Life is enriched by the contemplation of death. Preferably, I suppose, through the reading of this book, NOT through having a dad and an uncle die within the space of a year. So, yeah. This book is depressing as Hell, and I'm not sure I'd recommend this hurt-comfort masterwork to your average teenager--unless the young adult in question is feeling masochistic.
Notes: hardcover, 1st edition
Rating: 6/10 - Accomplishes in spades its modest ambitions. If I had read this book as a child, I suspect I'd still remember it.
1st-Apr-2006 01:23 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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