The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E. L. Konigsburg, Audiobook (CD) | Barnes & Noble
The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

3.2 7
by E. L. Konigsburg, Edward Herrmann, Jd Jackson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Discoveries

Amedeo Kaplan dreams of discovering something — some treasure no one realizes is there until he finds it. And he would like to discover a true friend to share this with.

Improbably, he finds the friend in aloof, edgy William Wilcox. And even more improbably, he finds his treasure among the memorabilia in the house of his eccentric neighbor,

Overview

Discoveries

Amedeo Kaplan dreams of discovering something — some treasure no one realizes is there until he finds it. And he would like to discover a true friend to share this with.

Improbably, he finds the friend in aloof, edgy William Wilcox. And even more improbably, he finds his treasure among the memorabilia in the house of his eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Zender. But Amedeo and William find more than treasure — they find a story that links a sketch, a young boy's life, an old man's reminiscence, and a painful secret dating back to the outrages of Nazi Germany. And they discover unexpected truths about art, friendship, history, heroism, and the mysteries of the human heart.

Editorial Reviews

Amedeo Kaplan covets two secret wishes. He dreams of somehow making a significant discovery; he also wishes that he could find one true friend. In the quiet transient navy town of St. Malo, Florida, both dreams seem unrealistic. Prospects gradually brighten when Amedeo and an introspective boy named William Wilcox find themselves working in an old mansion that teems with history -- and one very big secret. An enthralling tale by two-time Newbery winner E. L. Konigsburg.
Publishers Weekly

This complex work has all the trappings of vintage Konigsburg: unusually articulate children considering the adult world and trying to stake their claim on it; an art history-related mystery; a headlines-inspired story line; eccentric grown-ups; and, of course, incisive, often brilliant prose. Sad to say, the magic is missing. The action starts off promisingly. Amedeo Kaplan (son of characters met in The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place) has just moved to coastal Florida and made friends with William Wilcox, son of an estate sale manager (introduced in the story collection Throwing Shadows). As the boys help William's mother pack up the palatial home of Amedeo's next-door neighbor, a larger-than-life retired opera singer, Amedeo finds a signed Modigliani drawing. Because Amedeo has just returned from attending an art exhibit curated by another Outcastsalum, Peter Vanderwaal, on the subject of "degenerate" art (modern art criminalized by the Nazis), Amedeo is primed to uncover the history behind the drawing-a dark provenance that links the retired opera singer, the Vanderwaals and the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. While the author's material and style prove as stimulating as ever, her repeated reliance on coincidence weakens the book's impact. Her tried-and-true fans will forgive these contrivances, but newcomers should not start here. Ages 9-12. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Two sixth-grade boys, Amadeo Kaplan and William Wilcox, become friends as they work with William's mother to dismantle the contents of the home of former opera star Aida Lily Tull, whom they know as elderly and imperious Mrs. Zender. In a story somewhat reminiscent of Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer, the boys stumble on a mystery involving the provenance of one of Mrs. Zender's pieces of art, a sketch called The Moon Lady which is connected through an elaborate chain of events to Amadeo's godfather's father's past in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Along the way, Konigsburg explores questions about the Nazi campaign against "degenerate art" and the subversive potential of art to transform, and even save, threatened lives. While Konigsburg offers an intriguing narrative that introduces young readers to a lesser-known evil crusade of the Third Reich, the plot begins to feel creaky and cumbersome as the various unlikely and confusing coincidences accumulate. While Mrs. Zender emerges as a three-dimensional character, morally flawed without being morally reprehensible, it is unclear why Konigsburg chose to make William's mother, a successful and knowledgeable manager of estate sales, speak in sentences like "I read about some of them parties" and "I done some reading." Still, the book should appeal to intellectually ambitious young readers who would share Amadeo's delight in showing off his knowledge of the correct way to pronounce the name of the artist Modligliani (the g is silent).
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8
This humorous, poignant, tragic, and mysterious story has intertwining plots that peel away like the layers of an onion. An unlikely friendship develops between two precocious sixth graders as they unite to sort through the belongings of an eccentric, pretentious, and intriguing neighbor. William's mother is a liquidator hired to evaluate Mrs. Zender's possessions as the old woman gets ready to move into a residence for senior citizens, and William is helping her. Amadeo asks to join him in the project. William is a bright, sophisticated youngster; Amadeo, the new kid in St. Malo, FL, dreams of someday making an important discovery. He suspects there are possibilities among Mrs. Zender's belongings, particularly a piece of art by Modigliani. Amadeo's godfather, Peter Vanderwaal, is preparing an exhibit of Degenerate Art for the Sheboygan Art Center. This plotline leads to a discovery about Mr. Zender's past. Through old letters, parts of a memoir written by Peter's father, Peter's introduction to his exhibit, and thumbnail biographies of the artists deemed unfit by the Nazis, readers are educated about this aspect of Nazi repression. Dramatic revelations about the victimization of homosexuals and other figures during the Holocaust also become part of the story. In spite of these necessary intrusions, readers will be eager to discover the truth about the Zenders and the suspicious art treasure. Konigsburg, a master of characterization, has created a cast of idiosyncratic people and skillfully embedded them in an appealing tale of friendship, loyalty, and mystery.
—Renee SteinbergCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Sixth-grader Amedeo Kaplan (son of now-divorced Jake Kaplan and Loretta Bevilaqua, and godson of Peter Vanderwaal, from Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, 2004) becomes intrigued with his neighbor Mrs. Zender, a flamboyant recluse. Once a second-tier opera diva, she can no longer afford "people" and, incapable of refilling her own champagne glass, must move to a senior residence. Enter Mrs. Wilcox, "liquidator" of estates, and her son William. The two boys help every afternoon, sorting and tagging items, until Amedeo finds a drawing signed "Modigliani," and they unravel a mystery that amazingly involves both the Vanderwaals and the Wexlers-the story of the Nazi confiscation of "Degenerate art," of postwar blackmail and of a heroic gesture. Amedeo's own revelations (about what people are made of and how to see it) are so intricately delivered that the very patient young readers who have made it to the end of the story may find they have to grow into it. But there's plenty to grow into. Quirky, wandering, sometimes unbelievable, it nevertheless takes firm root in the reader's mind, training their eye to watch for stories that need discovering. (Fiction. 11-14)
From the Publisher
"Humorous, poignant, tragic, and mysterious...Konigsburg, a master of characterization, has created a cast of idiosyncratic people and skillfully embedded them in an appealing tale of friendship, loyalty, and mystery." — School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781428171817
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
10/17/2007
Edition description:
Unabridged
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

E.L. Konigsburg is the only author to have won the Newbery Medal and be runner-up in the same year. In 1968, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth was named a Newbery Honor Book. Almost thirty years later she won the Newbery Medal once again for The View From Saturday. She has also written and illustrated three picture books: Samuel Todd’s Book of Great Colors, Samuel Todd’s Book of Great Inventions, and Amy Elizabeth Explores Bloomingdale’s. In 2000 she wrote Silent to the Bone, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, among many other honors.

After completing her degree at Carnegie Mellon University, Ms. Konigsburg did graduate work in organic chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. For several years she taught science at a private girls’ school. When the third of her three children started kindergarten, she began to write. She now lives on the beach in North Florida.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >