(Maureen) Mollie Hunter (McIlwraith) Eleanor Cameron - Essay

Eleanor Cameron

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Mollie Hunter's two best books, to my way of thinking, are her second fantasy, "The Kelpie's Pearls," and this, her first novel of realism, "A Sound of Chariots." What these two have in common is style, a fine fierce ability to share emotion. In "Chariots," I find an increase in Miss Hunter's ability to go directly to the heart of a scene, to wring from it the final drop of meaning. I find an even more skillful interweaving of sights, sounds and feelings as these would be experienced by a child during a moment that will change that child's life forever.

There is a power at work in "Chariots" that I haven't met in Mollie Hunter's fantasies. And I cannot help but ask myself if this clarity of vision, that penetrates the smallest detail, may not have been the result of reliving a childhood of loss and turmoil. Whether it is a reliving or not, this is the most memorable of Miss Hunter's books, the distinguished account of a child's traumatic experiences and her struggle to gain the realization of selfhood.

Eleanor Cameron, "At Her Back She Always Heard," in The New York Times Book Review, Part II (© 1972 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), November 5, 1972, p. 6.