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Under the Cat's Eye
Gillian Rubinstein
Simon & Schuster, 204 pages

Under the Cat's Eye
Gillian Rubinstein
Gillian Rubinstein is the author of Galax-Arena, Foxspell, and Skymaze, among others. She lives in Australia.

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A review by Thomas Myer

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Jai Kala doesn't want to be separated from his parents, but the Bureaucracy is challenging their visas and work papers, and is shipping them back to India. Jai can stay in the country, but only at a boarding school. Because time is short, he is left at a creepy place called Nexhoath, run by the mysterious Mr. Drake.

There are plenty of weird things going on at Nexhoath. Lively, individualistic, happy children go into Mr. Drake's office, one by one, and reappear as drones. Kitty and Roughly, the two servants, really seem to be a cat and a dog with magical powers. And then there's the awful chest in the hallway where the baby died -- which turns out to be a portal between parallel universes.

The questions tease: Is Jai the messianic leader who was once lost and must return to his home, on a parallel world? Who is Mr. Drake, and why is he stealing the souls of children? Will Mr. Drake be able to destroy the fragile parallel worlds?

If you liked C. S. Lewis and Robert Louis Stevenson, then you will absolutely go bananas over Gillian Rubinstein. She captures exactly how I, as a child, would react or think about different things, and her portrait of fantastical subjects is charming and evocative. This is the kind of book that I would have loved as a kid -- moreover, it is the kind of book that would have made me seek out another book, and another, and another.

Copyright © 1998 Thomas Myer

Thomas Myer is a writer and editor. He works for Cisco Systems, Inc.


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