Tuesday, January 10, 2012


It took about three sittings to finish Ann Moray's charming novella Gervase, but before the review I'd like to share a little about the author.  She was a very close friend of Joker's grandmother's (and his parents), and she was my brother-in-law's godmother.  She lived what I think of as the glamorous life of a New York socialite: born in Wales, studied music in Vienna, married a Venezuelan diplomat.  But the lovely stories of her that I've been told include the afternoon when Joker was a boy, and Ann Moray taught him about the fairies who lived in the lawn, and how to step carefully around and over them to keep them safe. 

Ann Moray, jacket photo (c Marcus Blechman)

So I was more than a little interested to read one of her four books, which Joker had recently completed as well.

Gervase tells the story of a girl in rural Maine who suffered a brain injury in an accident at age 13.  It left her unable to grasp much academically, but she gained the ability to read other people's thoughts.  Enter Gervase, the baby deer, who she can also understand. Maeve and Gervase become inseparable, and their adventure together is very charming.  Gervase helps Maeve to navigate - and to help bring together - both her world and that of the animals around them. 

I could have lived without the C.S. Lewis/Aslan-ian parallel to Christianity (which I am not particularly fond of in the Chronicals of Narnia, either), and the prologue is completely unnecessary, but both of those can probably be chalked up to the book's being written in 1970. Moray might not go down into the annals of the great 20th Century authors, but I would absolutely recommend this book to younger readers (or to people who knew the author personally, of course).  It's not easy to get your hands on, being rather out of print, but if you've got 10-year-old girls around and can track it down, I think you'll be glad you did.  And I most certainly look forward to the Bug and the Bunny enjoying this in a few years.

Next up:  The Magicians by Lev Grossman.  I'm also working my way through the graphic novel The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, Cliff Rathburn).  The intensely scary AMC series is based on this - and somehow, the comics are both scarier and more intense. 

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