A Walk out of the World by Ruth Nichols ; Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1969. Book club edition. Hardcover. 184 pages ; 22 cm. In original unpriced dust jacket with minimal wear to dust jacket. Yellow cover board with black title at spine and small illustration on front cover. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
A WALK OUT OF THE WORLD BY RUTH NICHOLS
Tobit and Judith, brother and sister, were slender, silent children who rarely played with anyone else. Then, one autumn day, when the sky was a sea of clouds and the wind blew wild gusts of rain, Judith and Tobit followed a strange daylight glow through the woods and walked out of the world they knew into another that made their former lives seem pale shadows of reality. For the first time they seemed to waken from a sleepwalking dream.
Almost at once they were welcomed into the royal household of the Wanderer, for Judith's pale hair and silver-gray eyes proclaimed her a descendant of southern kings, who had lived in exile for five hundred years while Hagerrak the usurper ruled the country in tyranny from the White City. Now the land was waking; strange portents in field and forest indicated that Hagerrak's rule might be drawing to an end. It was only after Judith had looked into the magic fire of the Lady Iorwen, however, that she realized she alone could bring about the downfall of Hagerrak and the restoration of the true kings.
With a skill and imagination that would be remarkable in a far more experienced writer, Ruth Nichols, who was eighteen at the time, has written a spellbinding fantasy that introduces an exciting new talent to the realm of children's literature.
"I was born in 1948 in Toronto," says Ruth Nichols. "My mother started reading aloud to my sister and me almost before we could talk; my first memories of books include, besides such things as Mary Poppins and Now We Are Six, a child's prose version of the Iliad, which ranked as the first major event in my imaginative life. When I was ten, we moved into the country, where I had the doubtful privilege of attending the only one-room schoolhouse Lift in the county. By the age of eleven I had written two long stories. These efforts went on through the first years of high school, when 1 wrote novellas dealing mostly with sixteenth-century subjects.
"When I was fourteen, we moved to British Columbia, where my father took up a post at Union College of B.C. In the same year I won the grand prize in Shankar's International Literary Contest for Children, a contest sponsored by the government of India and including entries from over eighty countries. My entry was a novelette dealing with the childhood of Catherine de' Medici and her imprisonment as a hostage during the short-lived Florentine Republic.
"I graduated from high school at sixteen and entered the University of British Columbia, intending to study languages. At various times during those two years I was studying Latin, Greek, French, German, Italian, and Yiddish. My Germanic pronunciation of Yiddish drove my teacher up the walls; later my Yiddish pronunciation of Hebrew did the same to another professor.
"At the beginning of my third year I switched into the honors program in Religious Studies, having been attracted both by the subject matter and by the faculty with whom I was to work. It was around Christmas of this year ('66-'67) that I wrote A Walk Out of the World. The story was born out of a mood of considerable uncertainty and a longing to escape, to "walk out out of the world," which is precisely what Tobit and Judith achieve. For the city where the two children live, I used certain parts of Vancouver: the mountains, the forest near the school, the road and the enchanted wood—all exist in my neighborhood, though the wood flanks the university golf course and the red and gold depths of the river started out as a ditch flooded with spring rain.
"I am at present working on an adult novel and am embarked on a graduate program in Religious Studies."
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