The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

Book - 2007
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"ninety percent of who you are is invisible."

Amedeo Kaplan seems just like any other new kid who has moved into the town of St. Malo, Florida, a navy town where new faces are the norm. But Amedeo has a secret, a dream: More than anything in the world, he wants to discover something -- a place, a process, even a fossil -- some treasure that no one realizes is there until he finds it. And he would also like to discover a true friend to share these things with.

William Wilcox seems like an unlikely candidate for friendship: an aloof boy who is all edges and who owns silence the way other people own words. When Amedeo and William find themselves working together on a house sale for Amedeo's eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Zender, Amedeo has an inkling that both his wishes may come true. For Mrs. Zender's mansion is crammed with memorabilia of her long life, and there is a story to go with every piece. Soon the boys find themselves caught up in one particular story -- a story that links a sketch, a young boy's life, an old man's reminiscence, and a painful secret dating back to the outrages of Nazi Germany. It's a story that will take them to the edge of what they know about heroism and the mystery of the human heart.

Two-time Newbery winner E. L. Konigsburg spins a magnificent tale of art, discovery, friendship, history, and truth.
Publisher: New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2007.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781416949725
Branch Call Number: j F KONIGSBU
Characteristics: 244 pages ; 22 cm.


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Apr 01, 2010

Like E.L. Konigsberg's classic From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler, there's an art mystery at the heart of this story of two pre-teen boys and their growing friendship with a wealthy and eccentric old lady. However, with Mixed-Up Files, I was enchanted and drawn in by the very opening words. Mysterious Edge takes some faith and some reading to get into the plot. Once in, though, it's a satisfying story, though not nearly as light-hearted as Mixed-up Files was. There's a heart-breaking and sinister Holocaust connection. Also some great verses from one of my favourite poets, Phyllis McGinley.

I had an interesting context for this book. I was reading this, the latest of E.L. Konigsberg's novels, at the same time that I was reading the earliest of Madeleine L'Engle's books The Joys of Love. Both L'engle and Konigsberg were among my very favourite authors when growing up; I have read pretty well everything they have written, and own most of their works. The L'engle book was an example of a young author not quite hitting her stride; The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World is something like Konigberg's twenty-first published work. It's one of her better ones.


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