Johns Hopkins University Press
Reviewed by:
Andrews, Christiane M. Spindlefish and Stars. Little,
2020 [400p]
Trade ed. ISBN 9780316496018 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9780316496025 $9.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R* Gr. 5-8

Despite the hardships of the itinerant life, Clo loves traveling with her father, who makes a meager living repairing wealthy patrons' art while she keeps house and grows turnips. When her father fails to return one day, leaving her with instructions to go to the harbor and use a slip of paper labeled "half paffage" to board a particular ship, Clo finds herself conducted to a strange gray island where an old woman weaves an unending gray tapestry and calls Clo "Rethguaddnarg." Clo learns to spin the island's magical fish into thread for the tapestry and unravels a mystery about her mother, her father's ill health, and the nature of her own life, leading her to a decision with far-reaching implications. Andrews' musical prose is a delight, full of rhythm and sparkle that keep even the island's gentle pace lively for readers. Readers familiar with Greek myth with take special pleasure in the slantwise view Andrews conjures: a ship carrying the dead, the spinning and weaving of lives, and the moon-cheeked boy Cary who flew too high and fell into the sea—these take on fresh colors and textures through loving, determined Clo's journey to take her fate into her own hands. The tapestry metaphor also offers a longer, measured view of the unavoidability of pain and the beauty of kindness as well as commentary on the persistence of powerful stories through art. [End Page 5]

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