THE EDUCATION OF J. J. PASS: A NOVEL
T. F. Rigelhof.
Volume 11 Number 6.
T.F. Rigelhof has published short stories in various literary magazines and a novella, Hans Denck, Cobbler (Oberon, 1981). This is his first novel and is certainly an auspicious beginning for him. The story is narrated by J.J. Pass's stepbrother, Alex Ready, a middle-aged former priest, who, through a series of flashbacks, recounts how a young Polish boy and his father move into Alex's conservative, middle-class prairie neighbourhood shortly after World War II. Four-year-old Josef Jacob Paszlerowski expects Canada to be completely wonderful, but instead meets with hostility and loneliness; neither the other children nor their mothers like him or his somewhat wild and unconventional father. By the time Alex's mother and J. J.'s father marry, J.J. has become secretive and rebellious and never forms a close bond with his stepbrother. Mysteries from the past are gradually drawn from Alex's memory, and finally the truth about J. J.'s father is revealed. The characters in this well-told tale really come to life, and the flashback style of narration is effectively used to depict the periodic delving into the past and growing understanding by the narrator of his boyhood. Highly recommended for secondary schools, colleges, and public libraries.
Pia Christensen, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
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