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Evan's Voice    by Sallie Lowenstein order for
Evan's Voice
by Sallie Lowenstein
Order:  USA  Can
Lion Stone, 1998 (1998)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The problem with Evan's voice is that he doesn's have one - at the age of seven, Evan doesn't talk, probably as a result of the Plague which divided this future society into the haves of the coveted Gizmo-land and the have-nots who inhabit the mean streets of Evan's neighborhood. But Evan does have a loving big brother, Jake, the narrator of Evan's Voice. Street savvy Jake keeps his knife close at hand, and is taught journalism at school by Mr. Ap-pel, a self styled 'dinosaur left over from the 20th century.'

After Jake's mother deserts them in a selfish search for a better future, their neighbor Mrs. Garvey acts as a kind of fairy godmother and takes them in. When Jake's friend Mellie seeks refuge from an abusive father who plans to sell her for 'dowry', she joins the crowd. They all become addicted to an ongoing DV (Mrs. Garvey can't afford 3DV) story about shapeshifter aliens on a 'Colony' journey to new worlds. When Mr. Ap-pel assigns Jake the task of interviewing the storyteller, they work together to track him down using low-tech tools.

When they find this mysterious, reclusive storyteller, he continues weaving the magic of the alien Acob's adventures for this private audience, including a tale within a tale about 'The Story Collector'. At the same time, the Gizmo-land authorities face riots from the neighborhood kids after they attempt to withdraw schooling from them, and Jake takes a brave stand. The book continues to a surprising conclusion that ties up all the loose ends, and in which Jake is able to help the lonely storyteller, Mrs. Garvey and himself.

Evan's Voice is an unusual, imaginative book, eerily illustrated by the author in a style reminiscent of drawings in the Gormenghast series. It conveys messages about the value of reading and education over high-tech gizmos, but it's also an engrossing tale of attachment and community in the face of poverty and adversity.

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