The Keening

The Keening

3.6 5
by A. LaFaye
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Born into a family with artistry in their fingers, Lyza laments that her only talent is carving letters into wood. That is until her life is turned upside down when her mother succumbs to the influenza pandemic of 1918, which is devastating their small coastal town in Maine. With her mother gone, Lyza must protect her eccentric father, who runs the risk of being

See more details below

  • Checkmark Kids' Club Eligible  Shop Now

Overview

Born into a family with artistry in their fingers, Lyza laments that her only talent is carving letters into wood. That is until her life is turned upside down when her mother succumbs to the influenza pandemic of 1918, which is devastating their small coastal town in Maine. With her mother gone, Lyza must protect her eccentric father, who runs the risk of being committed, especially now that he claims he’s waiting for the return of his dead wife. Can Lyza save her father and find her own path in the process?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in northern Maine in 1918, the year of the influenza pandemic, LaFaye's (Water Steps) compact novel is infused with the spirit of death. Fourteen-year-old Lyza's parents have raised her in an unconventional manner; the family sleeps and eats to its own rhythms. Pater, while mentally unbalanced, is a gifted sculptor, and Mater plays the cello, bakes, and sews beautifully. Lyza deeply loves her family and home in their small coastal town—“The comforts of it had soaked in soul deep.... sights like our house standing on the high grass plain between the glen of sugar maples and the forest made me feel safe”—but yearns for a talent of her own. Early on, Mater succumbs to influenza, and Lyza must confront her fear of travel to fight relatives who want to have Pater committed. During her journey to get help, she discovers her singular gift. LaFaye explores the thin line between artistry and mental illness and offers visions of dead spirits in darkly lyrical language that makes for a powerful and unsettling book, best appreciated by older preteens and teens. Ages 8-13. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—At age 15, Lyza knows there's something different about her family. Her father, a sculptor viewed by many in their Maine fishing village as insane, relies entirely on his wife for daily care. When the 1918 influenza epidemic claims her mother, Lyza fears for Pater and their way of life. It soon becomes apparent that his genius extends beyond the natural world; he communes with spirits to fulfill the wishes of departing souls. The teen begins to have her own visions, accepts her supernatural inheritance, and uses it to protect her father and their home. LaFaye begins the novel in the deepest, darkest parts of Lyza's mind and then drags readers through a dizzying succession of thoughts, actions, and ideas. There is no time to become invested in any one character, and the plot takes a lot of unnecessary twists and turns. Readers interested in ghost stories may pick this one up after exhausting other options, but this title will otherwise be a hard sell.—Sara Saxton, Tuzzy Consortium Library, Barrow, AK
Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen-year-old Lyza lives with her parents on an isolated point of land outside a small coastal Maine town in 1918. Her mother lovingly protects her father from the world, protection he needs since he spends most of his time carving the faces of angels only he can see. After her mother suddenly dies during the influenza epidemic, Lyza must move beyond her grief to find a way to keep her father safe from extended family members who would institutionalize him. With the help of her only friend, Jake, she gradually comes to a fuller understanding of both her father's visions and his seemingly tenuous grasp on reality. Lyrical language, an underlying mystery that is only slowly revealed and Lyza's fully realized character make this a compelling read. Her vivid dreams weave in and out of her reality, and less sophisticated readers may find this intermingling confusing at first. Those who are carried along by her story will enjoy a surprise ending that moves this entertaining effort beyond historical fiction into mild though plausible fantasy. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781571316943
Publisher:
Milkweed Editions
Publication date:
04/13/2010
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,417,238
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >