by Orson Scott Card
Magic Street opens with the mysterious birth of Mack Street, after which he is abandoned in a shopping bag on the street of a predominately black suburb in Los Angeles. One of the local kids finds him, and he gets taken in by a nurse and raised by the whole neighborhood. He grows up in a rather idyllic setting (in spite of the drugs and gangs, which he avoids), reminiscent of Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine.
But there's something strange about this boy-- who is polite, friendly, and has a very uninspiring bland personality. He has dreams that bring people's deepest desires to life in horrible ways. Just as you're beginning to think this book is all about motivations, wishes and dreams, it takes a sudden slide into the realm of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. There's a whole parallel world peopled with Puck, Titania and strange creatures, right behind someone's back door. As pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place, Mack finds himself in the middle of a battle against evil he never chose to fight.
Although the mixture of Fairyland and black suburbia can be incongruous, and Card's attempts at ebonics awkward at times, this book is rather captivating. It moves at a quick pace, unraveling a story that is a fantastic medley of disparate themes. The religious undertones might throw some people off, but I say it's worth reading through until the end.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 304 pages, 2005
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