The Wind Eye Critical Essays

Robert Westall


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Wind Eye is the first in a series of books and many short stories by Westall about supernatural forces. Being a children’s author was not part of his early vision for his career. He was trained and educated as an artist, receiving his doctorate in fine arts from Slade School at the University of London in 1957. He served as art master, head of art, and head of careers successively in prestigious colleges in England. He then tried his hand as an antique dealer in Davenham, Cheshire. Writing had always been a part of his life, and he applied his skills to writing The Machine-Gunners as a way to share with his twelve-year-old son what it was like when he was that age. The success of that book allowed Westall to make a career change at midlife. More than thirty books and numerous short stories ensued; all, except one pure science-fiction novel, Futuretrack Five (1983), and one book of ghost stories for adults, Antique Dust (1989), were aimed at a youth audience. The Wind Eye was tamed from the violence, family conflict, and profanity that critics opposed in Westall’s first novel. Westall later regretted responding to the complaints.

Westall’s books have been described as being in one of two categories, naturalistic-comic or spooky. In this “spooky” story, Westall allows the children to make critical decisions with little influence from parental figures, a style that adds realism and attracts young...

(The entire section is 455 words.)