Asta in the Wings is a poignant and often darkly funny story narrated by Asta Hewitt, a resourceful seven-year-old growing up in an isolated house in Bond Brook, Maine. Shut off from the outside world and restricted to the company of a delusional mother and a bookish older brother, Asta is content to be part of a "society of three," constructing fanciful, theatrical worlds of their own. When circumstances push her into a strange outside worldwith all of its discontentsAsta must find a way to assimilate while remaining true to herself and her fractured family.
Asta in the Wings
On the last day, the day before everything changed, my mother told me her theory about the movies. It could have been a theory about anything else . . . Mother was always bursting with ideas. A few weeks earlier, she had expressed her thoughts on evolution, which included her conjecture that the towering dinosaur remains in the Museum of Natural History were not dinosaurs at all, but a hoaxa man-made likeness built from human bones.
On this day, however, the subject was movies. I was guilty, I think, of not listening closely enough; I was only seven years old, and greater things beckoned to me. I was busy awaiting the arrival of an insect, concentrating on the sodden strip of bathroom tilethe one just alongside the tubs foremost clawfoot from which earwigs or silverfish might emerge. Balanced on my haunches, head lowered till my face grazed the floor, I whispered this urgent enticement into the cracks:
Come out, you ...
Such is the strength of Watson's writing, and the immediacy of Asta's narration, that you can't help but be drawn deep into the terrible reality of the book... An early review called this "a gem of a book" and I would agree.
(Reviewed by Vy Armour).
Full Review (1183 words).
In homage to her obsession with movies, Asta's mother has named her after the wire-haired terrier in a series of six comic-detective films inspired by Dashiell Hammett's last novel, The Thin Man. In the films, William Powell and Myrna Loy play Nick and Nora Charles, a witty couple who solve crimes, engage in snappy banter and imbibe numerous cocktails. The first movie (The Thin Man, 1934) was nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture. The low-budget MGM film was shot in fourteen days and earned over $2 million. Its sequel, After the Thin Man (1936), was the first sequel ever to be nominated for Best Picture.
In the Wings
When Asta and Orion accidentally fall through a broken floorboard, ...
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