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Set in Paris and war-torn Lebanon in the 1980s, The Multiple Child is a timeless tale in a spare yet elegant style by a powerful writer admired worldwide. The title character, Omar-Jo, a child of war and of peace, has the power and vision of Oskar of The Tin Drum and the gentle wisdom of The Little Prince.
After Omar-Jo loses his parents and one of his arms in a bomb blast in Lebanon, his grandfather sends the boy to live with relatives in Paris. There he meets Maxime, the owner of a carousel that has fallen into disrepair. The child breathes new life into the carousel - a character in its own right - as well as into its owner and patrons. Omar-Jo plays the part of the wise clown: "all the zanies, all the fools, all the 'grasiosos,' all the minstrels, the itinerant players, the white-faced clowns, the Monsieur Loyals, the Augustes, of times past and present, dwelt in his body." In this novel, Chedid illuminates the essence of conflict and redemption.
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In this simpering allegory, a child from Beirut goes to live in Paris with relatives after his parents are killed by the same bomb attack that tore off one of his arms. At first, poor little Omar-Jo repels his cousin Rosie and her husband Antoine. "The sight of that mutilated, incongruous thing turned their stomachs." Besides, Rosie is too busy trying to win her husband back from his mistress to deal with Omar-Jo. Twelve-year-old Omar-Jo quickly ingratiates himself with Maxime, a disillusioned merry-go-round owner, and he soon draws a crowd with such revolutionary marketing ideas as putting up posters. Omar-Jo plays to the crowd, drawing them in and then revealing his stump and his story but descriptions of these performances are vaguely worded ("Led by his voice, Omar-Jo evokes his city, left so recently."). Flashbacks describe Omar-Jo's family: his crusty grandfather who carried great guilt about an extramarital affair; his mother, who worked as a maid for a slatternly woman; and his father, a chauffeur his mother met in Cairo. None of these characters are believable as anything other than as representations of faults or virtues, and Omar-Jo is a particularly annoying personification of the all-knowing and angelic child. Chedid (From Sleep Unbound) does best when she sticks to a simple style, but attempts at poetic description tend to fall flat.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
YA?A deceptively simple book about hope, redemption, and love overcoming despair, loss, and hate. It could be about any mortal conflict; random bombings are not limited in time or place. The setting happens to be war-torn Lebanon in the 1980s where 10-year-old Omar-Jo loses not only an arm, but also his parents in a car bombing outside his previously happy home. His wise but illiterate grandfather sends the boy to Paris to live with relatives, who prove to be indifferent to him. The child forms his own extended family that includes a desolate merry-go-round operator and owner and a jazz musician. The tale takes readers from Beirut to Cairo to Paris as Omar-Jo's story and that of his parents and grandparents emerge. Omar-Jo is the pivotal character, one wise beyond his years, but the other people also tell their stories. Using his creative talents and innate abilities, Omar-Jo brings a rebirth to the merry-go-round and thus its owner; he injects hope and love in all who come in contact with him, including readers. How he strives to attain his goal of a new family is a lesson for anyone.?Dottie Kraft, formerly Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Mercury House, 1995. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M156279079X
Book Description Mercury House, 1995. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P11156279079X