Virginia Hamilton likes dangerous edges. She tries things that might not work. Her books are experimental, different, strange. She runs bravely along the edges of cliffs.
Her characters also exist on the edges of things. Often they cross the border into adolescence, teeming out of childhood into the chancy independence of maturity with a bursting strength that sometimes brims over into violence. They are black, but their color is not what is most important about them. At Virginia Hamilton's best, her characters transcend race and youth, and grow larger until they are towering images of dignity and power.
In "Arilla Sun Down" the muscular young presence is Arilla's big brother Jack...
(The entire section is 504 words.)