Sunday, January 17, 2016

Josefina Vicens, The False Years (1982)

Might as well read Vicens' other novel, while I'm at it! Though at seventy-four pages, "novel" is pushing it beyond the breaking point. Still, if those irritating Ravicka books count as novels, this must too! Also, there is no activity more interesting and meaningful than obsessing over what does and does not count as a novel! Let's write a WHOLE LOT MORE on that subject!

Well. The False Years is about a boy who idolizes and somewhat hysterically tries to constantly emulate his father, who is a kind of dissolute lackey of a corrupt politician. However, his father is killed--he accidentally shoots himself. The book is a reflection of the son several years later at his father's grave as he contemplates what he was and what he's become. He's basically succeeded in following in pa's footsteps, having inherited his position in the political machine, and even his father's mistress (it doesn't get much more Oedipal than that, foax!). However, he doesn't exactly have his father's rough, callous temperament, and he struggles to try to acclimate to his role and justify himself.

It's a probing, psychologically acute novel[la]. What more can I say? I don't think it's quite as groundbreaking as The Empty Book, but I still recommend it to kids of all ages. It is to be regretted that Vicens didn't direct her formidable talents to writing more than just the two novels.


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