Friday, October 27, 2006

Gathering Blue

I just finished another spectacular little book. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. It is listed as a "companion novel" to the author's absolutely perfect novel The Giver. I have taught The Giver twice now and I have not had a single kid who has not liked it. Not one.

The Giver is about a utopian (really a dystopian) community where everything is perfect. In order to make that perfection, it is amazing what liberties have to be taken away. This companion novel seeks an answer to instead of progressing into utopia, what would happen if humanity regressed.

It is possible. If there were a cataclysm, would we not protect what we had with strict rules, frightening everyone into submission and only keeping the strong alive? What would the leaders keep from us, and what would we all forget?

I have always loved dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. This book fits in among the best in that regard. It may not be as good as The Giver, but that would be just about impossible to achieve. It still is interesting on many levels and is quite a story.

I simply don't know how Lowry does it. She is a master at inventing worlds. There is barely an exposition and yet the world is vibrant and full of life. The world she writes about seems to be just outside the door, as real to us as our own reality, yet she does it with hardly any real set-up. She truly creates these worlds with ease, bringing the reader inside fully, without even taking us on a long trip.

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