Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Boy Without a Name - Penelope Lively

Penelope Lively's The Boy Without a Name is a short tale illustrated by Ann Dalton, about a young boy who, in the middle of the 17th century, makes his way across thirty miles of English countryside to the village of Swinfield where he was born around a decade or so earlier. In Burcombe he had been the miller's apprentice, but he had not enjoyed the job. Arriving in Swinfield he encounters the parish priest who takes him to the Poor House; the overseer then takes him to find some employment, intending the boy to work for the miller in Swinfield, but on the way they pass a quarry where men are digging out stone and the boy decides he would rather be apprenticed to the mason. In the process he acquires first a forename, and then a surname, so that by the end of the tale he has a full name, a job, a home and friends.

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