Re-reading this after thirty years reminds you how good Westall was at cutting to the core and raw detail of his stories and how, just a year after the The Machine Gunners , he showed his talents for fantasy while retaining the same hold on the physical world and the same jaundiced view of adults at a loss in the face of children’s greater understanding. The Studdard family, a mix of two marriages and ways of thinking and being, head up to the house they have inherited on the Northumbrian coast with the three children drawn together against the warring of their parents; Bertrand, the rational Cambridge professor and Madeleine the fiery and emotional ‘mother’. They discover ‘Resurre’ an ancient boat which becomes their transport to the time of St Cuthbert in wonderfully sudden shifts in which they, with all their differences, have to face ‘Cuddy’, the rawness of his time and his power. The time shift itself is a challenge to Bertrand but there are others – the ‘miracle’ curing of Sally’s burn-damaged hand, the sense of being out of control and the raw brutality of warfare rather than the fantasy of it. The scenes in the past are sharply realised in the vivid physicality and sensations of smell and cold. This Cuddy, in quick and short touches, becomes a figure of great power (and similarly so in William Mayne’s excellent Cuddy ). The passing of time has left, for this adult anyway, despite some thinness of characterisation and strongly male-narrowed views of the world and women, a powerful and provoking read.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Richard Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Richard Hill2007-05-01 16:33:432023-02-26 16:35:40The Wind Eye