Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 163
Reminiscent of Heironymus Bosch paintings and the adult novels of Jerzy Kosinski, this almost surrealistic tale set in a timeless European landscape [Silas and the Black Mare] follows young Silas who runs away from his traveling circus family…. While the cruelty and avarice of the villagers Silas encounters are unremitting (almost all want to cheat him, beat him, or kidnap him), Silas himself is no bargain either. He survives only by putting his own needs first…. Bødker's writing, even in translation, is spare and clean, harshly appropriate to the country and people described. It is a bizarre and hostile story illuminated only rarely by glimmers of love or caring, but readers who felt an affinity with Julia Cunningham's Dorp Dead … will recognize and appreciate this novel's bleak power.
Whitney Rogge, "'Silas and the Black Mare'," in School Library Journal (reprinted from the November, 1978 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co./A Xerox Corporation; copyright © 1978), Vol. 25, No. 3, November, 1978, p. 56.