This book tells an interesting story of transition – a transition for Cory, a transition for his father, and a transition for his native town Zephyr. The book is also a story of a certain rite-of-passage, magic, and our past. It is also a wonderful exploration of the birth of the writer. I feel that Robert R. McCammon shared his personal authorial experience telling us the story of the future writer – first, it is a way of escaping reality, then, it is also an issue of managing your imagination (the episode with the movie about the aliens from Mars), fears and trepidation any author experiences when his/her creation is exposed to a general public, everyday life as a source of inspiration,and, finally, the questions of truth and how to
manipulate (shh) handle and present it.
Cory goes through this stage of transition to find his path, eventually matures and, as we learn in the end, becomes a published writer. His father deals with a more challenging transition of adapting to a new world order and life-style, and though he struggles a lot, he also shows his ability to sacrifice and work anywhere to support his family. Eventually he manages to adapt and find a place for himself, and the family even moves to a bigger place as a sign of their successful transformation in this industrial world.
Zephyr, the truly magical place where children can fly because they have wings of freedom, and the old ladies can see dreams of other people and alleviate the mental sufferings, is the only one that can not survive this transition and falls victim to a new industrial world and turns into a ghost city. Well, almost, because, as we learn, magic lives on, and some children still have summer wings of freedom.
This novel also returns us to our past of two xenophobic, horrendous tragedies – racism and fascism. Those two motifs are wonderfully interwoven into the plot of the novel. They turn into the learning experience for Cory and a haunting reminder of our past for readers.
This is a book with many faces – racism and Southern culture, fascism, magic, adolescence and maturity, fathers and sons, the conflict of the new and the old, your vocation and your path. This tapestry of topics is truly a rewarding reading experience.