Volume 11 Number 2.
Wynne-Jones's first novel Odd's End* won the 1980 Seal First Novel Award and well deserved it was. The Knot, his second novel lives up to the calibre of his first, and we can now look forward with relish to future offerings from this gifted, imaginative mystery writer.
The Knot is set in Toronto's fashionably renovated Cabbagetown, a warren peopled with Dickensian characters reminiscent of Oliver Twist. A boarding house of fascinating characters, a gang of "Artful Dodgers" under the thumb of a mad "Pagan" pursued by an undercover detective lead us a merry chase through the minds and alleys of a seamy subculture. In his unique blending of the real and surreal, Wynne-Jones captures the reader in this intriguing mystery where what comes next is anybody's imagining. It is "a motley assortment of down-and-outs," each a story unto itself.
The novel could be well used in a high school course by both general level and advanced level students for character study and comparison with some novels of Dickens. It could also be used as an exploration of the mystery genre or the techniques used by this gifted writer in both his novels. The level of language and the mental images called up by the descriptions make the book suitable for use in class. The fact that it is Canadian is merely a bonus. A recommended purchase for class, library, or personal collections.
*Reviewed vol. IX/2 1981 p.97.
Ted Monkhouse, Wellington County Board of Education, Guelph, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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