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The Trokeville Way Paperback – November 25, 1997

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nick Hartley is having a hard time. He is the class bully's target of abuse; he has a crush on the older sister of a friend, a girl he compares to the elusive beggar maid in a famous pre-Raphaelite painting; and he's smart enough to know that the world around him isn't always what it seems. Nick's perceptions change when he comes across a ne'er-do-well magician who tells him, "Winners get what they want and losers get what they deserve." The magician sizes Nick up and sells him a "juzzle," a gyroscope plus jigsaw puzzle that, when used in tandem, bring Nick into a surreal world called The Trokeville Way. There, everything is more than a bit off-kilter, beginning with the language: a bridge is a "brudge"; a forest is a "little would." More urgently, the people who loom largest to Nick-his parents, the bully, the older girl-have been blown off course, too. While they seem sturdy enough in the ordinary world, in Trokeville they wander in an almost dreamlike state, easily trapped by obstacles (i.e., not sure how to maintain their chosen direction in life). A new book by Hoban (The Mouse and His Child; The Marzipan Pig) will be welcomed by many, but the philosophical asides and existential regrets may be frustrating for young readers, who will find them digressive and incomprehensible in some cases. An overly neat ending and a general lack of plot and character development also prove disappointing. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10-Puberty-bound Nick Hartley is preoccupied with getting beat up again by a foul-smelling bully. When Nick's head is knocked against the wall in their latest bout, the line between reality and fantasy is temporarily erased. In his "enhanced" state, which is full of brighter colors and sharper details, the boy buys a watercolor that has been cut up into a jigsaw puzzle from a down-and-out ex-illusionist. Moe Nagic, who calls the work of art The Trokeville Way, tells Nick a sad tale of a lost love, a story inextricably linked to the painting. Hoban mixes poetry, art, and music in Nick's dreamy descent into the picture that will ostensibly lead him to his own private Trokeville. Weird wordplay adds to Nick's disorientation as he deals with the brudge ("bridge with a grudge"), juzzle, mise, troke ("part trick, part stroke"), etc. To this conundrum Hoban adds an unsettling twist: the other players remember their role in Nick's dreams. Trokeville offers a window into the jumble of emotions in an intellectual adolescent's tumultuous mind, one that appreciates ineffable beauty and fears the humiliation of defeat. This is a literary fantasy of mettle and romance containing all the chivalric elements of justice, strength, deference to beauty, and self-actualization. A challenging and offbeat treat for those students willing to make the effort to follow Nick's tortuous trip, it requires a leap of faith and a strong curiosity, as well as an appreciation for the prescient, nagging advice from one's inner voices.
John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 117 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First edition (November 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679885609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679885603
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,255,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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By C. Moon on September 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
With no US company willing to publish an adult book by Hoban, it has become increasingly difficult to follow the path of his creative wanderings. With each book he seems to proceed further, but as to the destination of that motion, who can say? After Hoban's `The Medusa Frequency' it seems we have a long space of blackness before `Fremder' turns up, only published in the UK. But before `Fremder', he apparently wrote the children's book 'Trokeville' which along with Robert O'Brien's Silver Crown is probably one of the most disturbing books I have read in the genre. Of course, Hoban admits that children need to be challenged, and he really doesn't pull any punches with Trokeville. In a sense, this harkens back to `Mouse and his Child' which he did not write for children, but became marketed as a children's book. To me at least, `Trokeville' also reads like a book Hoban simply found in his head, and which subsequently was marketed for kids. People who do not understand Hoban (such as the review provided by Amazon that compares `Trokeville' to `The Princess Bride') will mistake `Trokeville' as simply a very dingy fantasy with a lot of humor that doesn't work, but a reading of anything Hoban has written since (and including) Riddley Walker will give firm evidence that this is not the case. Hoban is once again writing about consciousness and the consciousness that lies outside of the realms of the limited consensus of reality. He is writing about fear, and the whole duality of beauty emerging out of fear that he described so wonderfully in the `Medusa Frequency'. I do not know if this is really a very good book for kids, yet here is this danger of underestimating children (or teens).Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Story:

Nick Hartley is just trying to make it through his last year of middle school in one piece. He figured it should be easy since he is your average middle school student that doesn't stand out and doesn't bother anyone. One thing he didn't count on is that everybody stands out in some way especially when they are trying not to. Enter Harry Buncher. Nick's nemesis seems to hate the world and has decided that making Nick's as miserable as possible makes his a little better.

After coming out on the losing end of one of Harry's lessons, and a scolding from his brain, Nick wakes up outside the school and notices that the world around him is a little... sharper. Thinking that maybe he bumped his head a little too hard this time, Nick starts walking home only to come across a man playing a circus tune. He stops to give the man some change and notices a strange picture that seems to come alive before his eyes. He learns the man's name is Moe Nagic and that the picture is actually a jigsaw puzzle that when assembled allows a sort of portal into another world for those who's senses are attuned to it. Moe Nagic asks him if he wants to buy it and Nick takes the offer. After explaining how to access the world Moe Nagic sends Nick on his way. This is the beginning of Nick's Journey. Once he looks in he finds that he can't look back. What follows is a journey through his, slightly cranky, mind to understand the person that he is and to find the person that he can become.
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This is one of the more interesting books I have come across lately. As I read the book it changed from a kid finds a magic portal to another world coming of age story, to a trip through the subconscious, to a ghost story.
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Format: Paperback
When a young boy takes a bang to his head after getting into a fight, he meets a tramp, sitting on the road. The tramp, (Moe Nagic), sells a jigsaw puzzle to the boy. Moe explains how the puzzle can come alive, and how you can visit the land of Troke. Now it is up to Stevie, to visit the old brudge, and follow the path, that leads to Trokeville.
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A Kid's Review on November 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Wondeful.The book the trokeville way is funny suspenseful and realistic when he is outside in the real world. If you had noticed I called this paragraph good for ages 10-18. This is because they use mature words and swear. But other than that the trokeville way is a extrordinary book.
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