Winner of the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize
The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane is filled with plot twists and extraordinarily strange characters. It is also a moving meditation on loss and finding family in the most unlikely places.
Teenage cousins Meline and Jocelyn are sent to live on a private island with their eccentric uncle following the death of their parents. The girls, who are barely on speaking terms, must find a way to deal with their grief, with only their distant, scholarly uncle, a crazy Holocaust-survivor housekeeper and a mysterious butler for company.
This moving novel, told in four characters' voices, is a layered account of a bad year from multiple points of view. Polly Horvath, one of Canada's greatest authors for children, once again brings humor and pain together in a cathartic, hopeful story that rises out of the wreckage of what might seem to be desperate lives.
Polly Horvath has written many outstanding books for children, including The Canning Season (National Book Award, CLA Young Adult Book Award); Everything on a Waffle (Newbery Honor Book, ALA Notable Book, Mr. Christie’s Book Award, Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize); The Corps of the Bare-boned Plane (Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize); The Vacation (Child Magazine Best Book Award, Chocolate Lily Award); My One Hundred Adventures (NAPPA Gold Award, Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize, Parents’ Choice Gold Award) and Northward to the Moon (Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize Finalist, Oprah’s Reading List). She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.
Horvath has the uncanny ability to use ridiculous and sometimes anachronistic characters to soberly illuminate timeless truths - in this case, the lengths to which people will go to avoid facing their own feelings...Highly recommended.
Horvath's prose has rarely been more incisive: she understands the workings of grief and conveys them with uncanny accuracy and sympathy...Unsparing, often grim, this book rejects false hopes in favor of fragile strivings for truth.
Told from various points of view, with humour and empathy, we see how these very different people gradually form an odd kind of household and...begin to heal.
Horvath has a gift of looking at the dark side of life...while still promising love and consolation. Once again she explores loss, sorrow, and the crustiness that makes humans not entirely loveable in a novel that's wise, eccentric and honest.
Horvath applies her familiar, gently comic touch to the story of Meline and Jocelyn...the real pleasure lies in listening in as Horvath's quirky characters search for a way to fly above unthinkable pain and ultimately find their won happy endings.
Horvath's writing is sophisticated and complex, filled with baffling characters, gothic situations, and darkly hilarious scenes.
...an engaging story that would make a good read-aloud. Recommended.
Horvath is a gifted writer...passages invite immediate rereading and admiration.