John W. Conner

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 479

Occasionally a novel is so moving that this reader abandons all pretense of composure. The result of such physical catharsis is usually a second reading with emotions held severely in check to determine how the author structured the story. An exceedingly fine line separates the truly maudlin from romantic reality. I was not cheated by John Neufeld. A second reading of Touching revealed his tightly structured style and sparse but brilliant language. The author often breaks his account at the point when a reader can imagine eloquently for himself. It was at these times when my emotions took over, stimulated by the carefully chosen language of the author. This author telescopes ideas in a manner which should appeal to media-conscious adolescents. This approach created an intensely real feeling for this reader. (p. 1303)

Illustration of PDF document

Download John Neufeld Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Touching is concerned with the relationships between people: the artificial relationships created by family ties, the real relationships which grow because of mutual interests and desires. It is a brief book which should be read in a single sitting, if possible. The author is a careful writer. Every word, every nuance in this tale builds to the final page of the novel. I think adolescents will be intrigued by Twink and Whizzer. And I think an adolescent reader may understand himself better because he has met Harry Walsh. (pp. 1303-04)

John W. Conner, "Book Marks: 'Touching'," in English Journal (copyright © 1970 by the National Council of Teachers of English; reprinted by permission of the publisher and the author), Vol. 59, No. 9, December, 1970, pp. 1303-04.

Apres Nixon, le deluge…. The time [of Sleep Two, Three, Four! A Political Thriller] is 1983 and one Wagenson has been President for 10 years. His secret Special Forces units … have put the fear of man, fellow-man, into everyone and thus insured his tenure: "The President was right," sighs the woman attacked at the startling outset; "To have elections now would only divide the country." D. J. Berryman, sixteen and one of the attackers, is divided himself, unbearably: conned into joining Unit Five …, he wants out—but the Government has a long arm…. Neufeld is indefatigably imaginative in creating his scenario and in profiling some splendid young people like D. J. in binds; but when he assembles them all on a protracted journey to rescue a friend from the Iowa men's detention center, the story starts losing the grimly rigorous momentum that commanded a suspension of disbelief early on…. By the time the mission is accomplished, all that remains is a vestigial urgency—in the anticlimactic form of hope for "peace soon" and "love forever"; the book has long since become tediously bottom-heavy, increasingly disingenuous, just pseudo-apocalyptic. It may still have a lot of things going for it, but it's certainly over-ambitious. (pp. 882-83)

"Older Fiction: 'Sleep Two, Three, Four! A Political Thriller'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1971 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XXXIX, No. 16, August 15, 1971, pp. 882-83.

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-hour free trial



John W. Conner