Beyond the Labyrinth

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9780531058992: Beyond the Labyrinth

Fourteen-year-old Brenton questions the choices in his life when an alien anthropologist arrives to study an ancient Aboriginal tribe that once lived in the area around his home.

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From School Library Journal:

Brenton Trethewan, 14, is so alienated from his shallow, materialistic Australian family--and from society in general--that he throws dice to make his daily life decisions; he feels powerless and is unwilling to accept responsibility for his actions. When his cousin Victoria comes to stay with his family, she meets a mysterious, homeless, dark-skinned girl named Cal on the beach. Brenton's family reacts to Victoria's new friend with suspicion and hostility, but Brenton is more positive. Gradually, he learns that Cal is a visiting anthropologist from an advanced civilization who has been caught in a time-machine error. As she and Brenton draw emotionally closer to one another, Cal develops a life-threatening infection and decides that she must return home; human medicine would kill her. And Brenton is forced to make a decision about whether to go back with her. Rubinstein then asks readers to make Brenton's decision by throwing dice, and develops two different and telling endings to the story. A host of important issues are raised in this strangely intriguing and offbeat story--racism, free will, personal responsibility, cultural relativism, and extraterrestrial life. However, while Brent, Cal, and Vicky are believably developed, the other characters are implausibly shrill or silly in their extreme reactions to Brenton and Cal. Also, because so much is left unexplained about Cal's so-called advanced civilization, many readers will wonder what makes Cal's world so much better than our own imperfect one. Readers brought up on the "choose your own adventure" stories might be engaged by the novel's clever and provocative dual endings, but many will not get beyond the improbable and slow-moving labyrinths of the narrative. --Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Winner of the Australian Children's Book Council 1989 Book of the Year award, this dark, foreboding story is about two children--and several adults--who feel trapped by their lives. The one thing Vicky and Brenton have in common is the feeling that they are surrounded by aliens. Vicky, staying with Brenton's family for the summer while her parents are in Africa, feels completely unwelcome. Meanwhile Brenton closets himself away, scorning his family's blatant disregard for the world's problems--primarily, the threat of nuclear war. When the pair discovers a real alien living on the beach near their house, they begin to share a powerful secret that could change their lives. Rubenstein offers the reader a choice of endings, echoing the format of a game that figures heavily in the plot. This, however, runs the risk of diffusing the story's impact: the sensitive reader who has persevered through the weighty, somewhat despairing build-up may feel manipulated into choosing the "right" ending. At times suspenseful and provocative, this is not a novel for the faint of heart. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Gillian Rubinstein
Published by Orchard Books (1990)
ISBN 10: 0531058999 ISBN 13: 9780531058992
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
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Book Description Orchard Books, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0531058999

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