The Saxophone Winter

The Saxophone Winter

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The Saxophone WinterAas long white season is the winter of 1938-39, when The Great Depression has exhausted the people who have lived through it and HitlerAas war, seen on the horizon, appears as salvation from its grip. It is at this moment in the history of his small hometown that Christopher Waterton gets a chance to try to dream his own dreams, but at the same time he must also deal with the distresses and machinations of both his elders and his contemporaries. This is a serious time. In a review of the book, Louis K. MacKendrick says, q[These] teenagers, the bulk of [the storyAas] cast, are not fumbling, inarticulate, embarrassing gawks; they are sensible, intelligent individuals, with range, depth and substance. They are not miniaturized adults, not children, but simply, believably, teenagers of their time, and the entirety of their lives is both understood and shown in the round. Sensation, not sensationalism.q But fourteen-year-old Christopher is not enclosed in a teenage world. He becomes embroiled with, and must try to understand, what is happening around him among his teachers and other adults who are powerful in Long River (pop 4000). He quite suddenly falls in love (for the first time), and Emily falls in love with him. They flaunt it, and there are repercussions. Two love-starved teachers, trapped in a Calvinist profession, become mean. ChristopherAas best friend, Fielder, feels left out; and this culminates in him devising a punishment with unforeseen repercussions. Both EmilyAas parents and ChristopherAas own are concerned with the intensity of their childrenAas devotion. When they are discovered to have qneckedq in a hammock at a party at EmilyAas place, they are forbidden to see each other. They get around this injunction easily - with the help of EmilyAas very independent grandmother. But then there is the moment when Emily signals that she is ready qto go all the way.q Suddenly, Christopher is being asked to go too far too fast. When he is gifted with a saxophone at Christmas, ChristopherAas life expands. If Emily is one kind of dream that appears to be coming true, the saxophone is another. The lessons he takes from Gabe, who plays saxophone in a local band, are not all about music. Gabe is living through the sad hell of a shotgun marriage. And ChristopherAas other good friend, Purvis, is seventeen and an outcast from his family. When Christopher introduces him to his young English teacher, Miss Lee, the story begins its run toward its climax. ChristopherAas father is General Foreman at Long RiverAas Public Works Yard and is also the chair of the school board. When the high school is gutted by a fire, he awards the contract to refurbish the building to a contractor not approved by the townAas mayor, who is accustomed to rewarding his friends and supporters. Later, he defends Miss Lee, who may or may not have been intimate with Purvis, and the mayor takes his revenge. So, too does the winter itself. qAs much as anything, q Patricia Bradbury writes , The Saxophone Winter is a tender love story between the author and the process of adolescent awakening. It can be argued that such territory is one of the writerAas toughest grounds. Such clarity of recall - for the experience of first love (so beautifully evoked here) -requires a masterful hand.q The Saxophone Winter, Robert HarlowAas seventh novel, is good read for anyone from twelve to eighty and beyond.With only ten days to the Christmas holidays, he was going to recommend to the School Board that it extend the holiday and get a contractor to clean up and repair the building by mid-January if possible. a€œWho?a€ his mother asked. His fatheranbsp;...

Title:The Saxophone Winter
Author: Robert Harlow
Publisher:Xlibris Corporation - 2001-10-23

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