In the cold north where the white wind blows lives Sixteen-Face John, a shaman. His wife is expecting their first child a "soonchild." But Soonchild won t come out So John sets out to find the World Songs that inspire all soonchildren to leave the womb. Read more...
In the cold north where the white wind blows lives Sixteen-Face John, a shaman. His wife is expecting their first child a "soonchild." But Soonchild won t come out So John sets out to find the World Songs that inspire all soonchildren to leave the womb. Along the way, he must shift shape and size, converse with animals and ancestors, and face demons and death. But he also pursues an elusive golden-eyed presence that hints at a connection with his past. This breathtaking novel, as exciting as it is spooky, is a lyrical tribute to the forces of nature, magic, and family."
- ISBN-13: 9780763659202
- ISBN-10: 0763659207
- Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
- Publish Date: August 2012
- Page Count: 132
- Reading Level: Ages 14-UP
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-06-11
- Reviewer: Staff
In Hoban's final work (he died in 2011), rough-edged characters who speak in prose-poetry hurtle through an Arctic world in which humans, animals, and underworld spirits share a dizzying variety of magical powers ("OK, stand back now," says the hero's raven sidekick at one point, "I'm going to disappear into the generations of ravens all the way back to the Original Egg. Be careful not to get sucked into my slipstream"). Sixteen-Face John is a former shaman with a big gut and pants that won't stay up. When his daughter-to-be, Soonchild, refuses to be born, he uses his rusty shamanic powers to bring back the World Songs that will coax her out—though he dies not once, but three times in the process. Hoban fearlessly tackles the big questions: the distinction between the real and the unreal, the nature of courage, and the debt humans owe the dead and the unborn. Deacon's charcoal drawings (seen by PW only in b&w) render Hoban's mix of horror and slapstick note for note. Hoban's fans will revel in this last tale of his, and they'll mourn when it's done. Ages 14–up. (Aug.)