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The King in the Window

Review

The King in the Window

Written by Adam Gopnik, a New Yorker staff writer, THE KING IN THE WINDOW takes place in Paris. Its hero is Oliver Parker, a 12-year-old American boy living in Paris with his parents.

But it is winter in Paris, a dark, gloomy, depressing season. And Oliver is not happy. He misses his friends, dislikes his French school, and is lonely. To make matters worse, his father is a busy journalist who is always slaving over his computer and has little time for Oliver.

One night --- it happens to be Epiphany --- Oliver is staring out his kitchen window, wearing a gold paper crown that came with the Epiphany cake. Suddenly, another boy appears in the window's reflection; he is dressed in an old-fashioned doublet and calls Oliver "Your Majesty."

Did I say this book has everything? You'll be whirled away in a fantastic flight of fact and fantasy. You'll learn important French vocabulary. You'll eat in a very fancy French restaurant and enjoy the most lavish French food. Along with Oliver, you'll meet Moliere and Racine and hear a discussion about the difference between a simile and a metaphor. You'll visit actual French sights, including Versailles. You'll even be part of a basic philosophy discussion.

And above all, you'll enter the mystical world of the Window Wraiths and the Master of Mirrors as Oliver, armed with a glass sword and his little band of friends, go through the looking glass and enter the Mirror Maze in order to fight the Mirror Master and make the world safe for the Window Wraiths.

Oliver's band includes a weird assortment of people. There's the imperious, elegant and witty Mrs. Pearson; Charlie, Oliver's friend from the States who is a wild, cutting-edge skateboarder; and there's even a touch of romance (after all, this is Paris) as we meet the beautiful Neige, who lives in Oliver's building and is much, much more than just a neighbor.

THE KING IN THE WINDOW is historical and slightly hysterical. It veers from fact to fiction and from present to past. But it never stops being highly entertaining, enchanting and enthralling.

Reviewed by Robert Oksner on October 16, 2005

The King in the Window
by Adam Gopnik

  • Publication Date: October 15, 2005
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax
  • ISBN-10: 078681862X
  • ISBN-13: 9780786818624