William Mayne's prose style has a club foot. For the first few pages of ["A Game of Dark"], the phraseology seems awkward, ill-assorted and confusing…. And then very subtly Mayne's unique rhythms begin to assert themselves. The reader finds he has fallen into step with them and is no longer parsing sentences to get at their meaning. The gracelessness has become a kind of power instead, a power well suited to such a strange tale as this.
Donald Jackson is a 14-year-old boy who lives, in his English town, a life that is utterly bleak. His mother is humorless and withdrawn, his father an engrossed paralytic, and both, when they speak at all, are given to sermonizing…. Donald realizes that he neither...
(The entire section is 645 words.)