Otfried Preussler Anita Silvey - Essay

Anita Silvey

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In a fascinating narrative, the author [of The Satanic Mill] combines a realistic text with eerie dream sequences which foreshadow the events of the story, but as the reader, like Krabat, begins to search desperately for the resolution and means of ridding the world of the miller's evil, he may be somewhat disappointed to find that the antidote for the black force lies in a lovely maiden's falling in love with Krabat—an ending not unfamiliar in romantic literature, but, at least for this book, certainly anticlimactic. But although the book fails symbolically to indicate anything more than a romantic cliché about the world, in sheer story-telling it succeeds remarkably well in its evocation of the seventeenth-century atmosphere, in its development of characters, and in its building of tension and drama. (p. 148)

Anita Silvey, "Early Spring Booklist: 'The Satanic Mill'," in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1973 by The Horn Book, Inc., Boston), Vol. XLIX, No. 2, April, 1973, pp. 147-48.

I found the second half [of The Satanic Mill] better than the first. There was a lot of rather boring repetition, in fact there were times when I had to force myself to read on. I suppose it will appeal to the ten to fourteen-year-old who likes mystery and suspense, but as the latter is rather drawn out I think the readership will be limited…. (p. 139)

"Children From Ten to Fourteen: 'The Satanic Mill'," in The Junior Bookshelf, Vol. 37, No. 2, April, 1973, pp. 138-39.

The robber Hotzenplotz comes out of prison [in The Final Adventures of the Robber Hotzenplotz] determined to give up his life of crime and be a useful citizen, but the people of the town find new mischief for him….

All the subtlety of folk literature is here, from the larger-than-life characters, the happy-ever-after ending, the humour and the jokes…. This Bavarian award-winning author is absorbingly interesting for younger children, and will never bore their elders.

"'The Final Adventures of the Robber Hotzenplotz'," in The Junior Bookshelf, Vol. 39, No. 2, April, 1975, p. 111.