The Red Magician, Lisa Goldstein

Picked this up on a whim–I think it won a children’s book award–and read it in a day. Nice little contemporary (20th Century) fantasy about a Jewish girl in Hungary before, during, and after WWII. “Fantasy” may be the wrong word, for while there are some fantastic things going on, the happenings are startlingly realistic. In some worlds, this one might be considered magic realism, except that the characters are surprised and awed by the fantastic. They seem to accept it as natural, however. The really surprising thing about this book, though, is the changes of the lead character and the time scale. I didn’t expect the character to “grow up”; I didn’t expect a lot of what happened. A non-predictable fantasy? Yes. How rare.

[Finished 2 January 1994]


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