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Jacques Savoie
Translated by Sheila Fischman

Toronto, Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1989. 160pp, paper, $10.95
ISBN 0-88619-164-5. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Barbara Camfield.

Volume 17 Number 4
1989 July

This fresh, lively novel was originally published in French under the title Les Portes tournantes (Boreal Express, 1984). Jacques Savoie has written four novels, has made a film, and is a record producer and singer. The Revolving Doors is the first novel of this popular young author's to be made available in English.

"I used to be a painter, too, when I was four," the ten-year-old Antoine recounts to the surprised reader, "but it didn't work out because there wasn't enough room in the studio for both of us. And besides that, it wasn't fair. Blaudelle was copying everything I did—he called it his 'asinine non-figurative period.'"

Savoie instantly captures the reader with this introduction to the precocious Antoine. Antoine, who is innately wiser than his age would suggest, describes his method of learning music at the same time as he communicates with Lauda, his mother, who is separated from Blaudelle. Antoine records his music, his memoirs, and his affection on his "super-fabulous" cassette recorder and then passes the tapes to Lauda.

Among the intriguing characters in the novel is Blaudelle's mother. Celeste, who died young but left the legacy of her letters to her son. These letters recount her failure to adapt to the introduction of the talkies after she had become an admired piano accompanist for silent movies. Blaudelle gradually realizes that he has become the artist she was not allowed to be, and Antoine, the reader surmises, will continue the family's artistic tradition.

Recommended for collections of Canadian literature.

Barbara Camfield, Ottawa, Ont.
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