John R. Tunis

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 197

["Shadow of a Bull"] deals with fear in the heart of Manolo Olivar, a 12-year-old Spanish boy, son of a great bullfighter who had been killed in the ring.

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The book is tight,… done by a writer whose native language is not English. Miss Wojciechowska knows bullfighting and, more important, she is a magnificent writer. In spare, economical prose she makes one feel, see, smell the heat, endure the hot Andalusian sun and shows one the sand and glare of the bullring. Above all, she lifts the veil and gives glimpses of the terrible loneliness in the soul of a boy.

Perhaps the ending was ever so slightly contrived. But the whole is so good it does not detract from an eloquent, moving book…. This book is a must; buy it, read it. If you do, I promise two things: anyone who starts "Shadow of a Bull" will finish it in a single sitting. Second, he won't be quite the same person he was before reading the book.

John R. Tunis, in his review of "Shadow of a Bull," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1964 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), March 22, 1964, p. 22.

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