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Gone-Away Lake (1957)

by Elizabeth Enright

Other authors: Beth Krush (Illustrator), Joe Krush (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gone-Away Lake (Book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,785246,712 (4.14)1 / 37
Portia and her cousin Julian discover adventure in a hidden colony of forgotten summer houses on the shores of a swampy lake.

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» See also 37 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
I remember the descriptions of the swamp and house really vividly, but not much else about the plot. ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
00008769
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this book, partly because it remind me of my childhood, living at a lake, exploring and having adventures. Lovely to see children who are so respectful and enjoy adults. A touch of humor throughout also!
  wunderlong88 | Apr 17, 2020 |
Portia Blake and her younger brother, Foster, travel to rural New York State, near Attica, to spend the summer, as they usually do, with their only-child cousin, Julian Jarman, and his parents. Julian is Portia’s special friend—knowledgeable and adventurous. This summer should prove to be especially fun since the Jarmans have moved to a new house and Julian’s dog has just had puppies. Conveniently, there’s an age-appropriate farm kid friend for Foster, so he stays out of Portia and Julian’s way for a while—long enough for them to explore the area, make a wonderful discovery, and treasure it in secrecy for a while.

The fact is: they’ve discovered a lost holiday community, built by the very wealthy in the nineteenth century. Once a collection of a dozen luxurious homes, full of paintings, fine furniture, and old-fashioned items—all looking onto a lake, the homes are now being reclaimed by nature. Over the years, roofs have caved in, vines have climbed and even smothered structures, and rodents and insects of all kinds have moved in. As for the lake? It has gone away, and is now a swamp.

The most interesting finding of all, however, is that two elderly people—and old man, Mr Pindar Payton, and his even more eccentric sister, Mrs. Minnehaha Cheever, who once knew this place in its prime, are living here. Each has a house. The children meet these two old people on their first day, and an unusual friendship begins. Eventually, Portia and Julian will make their own special place in this unusual world, where nature thrives even as the human marks on the landscape fade.

Those who have read and loved Enright’s Melendy family books will recognize many of the same winning elements here—from adventures and discoveries in the natural world to lovely, precise descriptions of flora, fauna, and the weather. In general, though, I found this a less satisfying book than the three I’ve read in the Melendy series. First of all, I greatly missed the presence of a character like Rush Melendy, with his big, brainy vocabulary, witticisms and clever comebacks. There is no one at all like Rush in Gone-Away Lake. There isn’t even a salt-of-the earth type, like the Melendys’ handyman Willy Sloper, to act as a leavening agent. The elderly Mr. Payton and Mrs Cheever seemed a tad too quaint, the story less realistic, and the sex-role stereotyping more prominent than I recall in Enright’s other books.

So, while this is a pleasant book, it is not my favourite Enright. As a result, it doesn’t get the same high marks from me, and rates only three and a half stars tops. ( )
2 vote fountainoverflows | Apr 4, 2018 |
Portia and her brother travel by train to visit her cousin, Julian. Portia and Julian love exploring the new place, and come across a bog and an elderly brother and sister pair who live in a "ghost town" that used to be a community when the bog was a lake and Mrs. Minnehaha Cheever and Mr. Pindar Payton were young. The four become fast friends, and Portia and Julian have adventures all summer.

This Newbery Honor was a charming story I would have loved as a child. Portia and Julian have a lot of freedom to go off in the woods, bring a lunch, and spend a lot of time without adult supervision and I wonder what today's kids would think of that. The intergenerational relationships were really sweet and well executed. I could see this being a good readalike for The Penderwicks or The Moffats. ( )
  bell7 | Oct 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Enrightprimary authorall editionscalculated
Krush, BethIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krush, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grandpre, MaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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When Portia Blake and her brother Foster set out for Creston that summer, it was different from all the other summers.
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Portia and her cousin Julian discover adventure in a hidden colony of forgotten summer houses on the shores of a swampy lake.

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Portia and her cousin Julian discover adventure in a hidden colony of forgotten summer houses on the shores of a swampy lake.

Available online at The Internet Archive:
https://archive.org/search.php?query=t...
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