Julia W(oolfolk) Cunningham Paul Heins

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Paul Heins

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

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[Far in the Day, the sequel to Burnish Me Bright, finds] the mute French boy who had been trained by the famous mime Hilaire,… part of Michael Duffy's Circus traveling the roads of Ireland. Although he endears himself to most of the members of the depleted troupe (the circus had seen better days), the mute boy, now dubbed Tallow, arouses the undying hatred of crass, brutal, corpulent Mme. Althea Creel—fortune teller and cook for the company…. Mme. Creel dominates the action of the story until she is outwitted by Tallow in a final scene fraught with suspense. Despite occasional lapses into melodrama and emotionalism, the narrative sensitively conveys the power of the human spirit to transcend successfully a disintegrating environment; Tallow, who seems to bear a charmed life, silently triumphs over a powerfully portrayed antagonist, the very incarnation of vulgarity and evil. (p. 268)

Paul Heins, in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1972 by The Horn Book, Inc., Boston), June, 1972.