Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio by Lloyd Alexander

After years of working (and supported by) for his uncle, Carlo is on his own.  In his possession is a treasure map to the hidden treasure on the Road of Golden Dreams.  Carlo doesn't know if the map is even real, but he is willing to take the chance.  Carlo sets off on his journey picking up along the way a rag-tag group of wanders who together try and find their heart's desires.

I am a Lloyd Alexander fan.  I loved The Chronicles of Prydain series.  I read those over and over again growing up.  This is the last book of his that was published.  I had high expectations that were not met.

I just wasn't very interested in either the story or the characters.  Neither seemed to have much of a point.  The plot wandered along, seeming unsure if it wanted to be a philosophical tale or an adventure story. 

The characters lacked depth, which was very disappointing.  We don't even really get to know Carlo that well.  He seems a bit of a bumbling fool.  Is there more to him?  It's hard to say.  We learn absolutely nothing about Shira, the Kirkassi girl who is traveling with him.  He falls in love with her.  She falls in love with him.  Why do they like each other?  She's really beautiful.  He's kind of an idiot.  I have no idea what she saw in him.  We'll never know since her character is completely undeveloped.

The two others in their party are Baksheesh, the world's worst camel-puller and Salamon, a philosopher who loves animals.  Off all the characters, I thought Baksheesh was the most developed.  We learn a lot about him through his dialogue.  He's a lazy sneak who will do anything to avoid work.  He's a fast talker who can talk his way out of almost anything and is also fiercely loyal.  Salamon was another character that I wasn't quite sure why he was there.  We didn't learn much about him.  He's wise and wants to see the sea.  He's good with animals.  That's about it.

The adventure story was mixed with philosophical musings about life and dreams.  It didn't work well together.  I think this last work was meant to be a look at the meaning of life, but it doesn't really come through.

Not Lloyd Alexander's best.

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