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Sang Spell by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
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Sang Spell (1998)

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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I loved the world in this book - a land that the world shifts through as though it is still but the earth is moving. In this world, people who descended from a precolonial settlement of persecuted ethnicities live with minimal technology. There economy revolves around selling wild ginseng. However, I was easily able to predict the ending so I felt no tension while reading the book. Also, many of the conversations felt like repeated material. Good premise, but the book felt slushy in the middle. ( )
1 vote cammykitty | Mar 31, 2012 |
Like Beauxpres from The Porcelain Dove, Canara, where Josh finds himself, is somehow stuck in time. Is it a cult? A curse? Why can’t he leave? Where is he? On his way from his home outside Boston, he is leaving because his mother died in a car accident, he’s hitchhiking to Dallas when he’s mugged and beaten somewhere in the Appalachias. He’s taken in by the Melungeons who live in Canara, a mixed race of people who are Indians, runaway slaves, Portuguese and Spanish Jews and Muslims escaping the Inquisition. They are not part of the world as far as technology, nor anything else. It’s an interesting little book. ( )
  anyanwubutler | Oct 11, 2008 |
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Epigraph
Melungeons (or Malungeons), people of mixed ancestry (American Indian and white, especially Portugese, and sometimes black) living in remote mountain regions of n.e. Tennessee and w. Virginia...name probably derived from French melange (mixture).
--Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, 1995
Dedication
To my editor; Jean Karl, for her insight, my husband, Rex, for his critical eye, Heather Wright, for her help with the research, and to the Monday Night Group, Larry Callen, Joan Carris, Marguerite Murray, and Peggy Thomson, who, as always, came through.
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On a night even demons howl for their mothers, Josh stood on the edge of the highway, thumbing a ride.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0689820062, Mass Market Paperback)

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor earned countless fans with the touching morality of Newbery Award-winning Shiloh and the laugh-out-loud realism of Achingly Alice. But aficionados may be surprised to find that Naylor's Sang Spell reads more like a haunting mystery. Grieving over the sudden death of his mother, Josh Vardy is reluctantly hitchhiking to Dallas (to begin a new life with his aunt), when he is mugged and left beside a remote mountain road. A woman driving a horse and cart takes him to a strange, fog-bound, primitive village, where there are no cars or telephones or electricity. The homespun villagers turn out to be a long-lost people of mixed ethnicity, called Melungeons. They accept Josh into their community, but will only answer his questions with evasiveness and enigmas. Mavis, a broad-shouldered young woman his own age, befriends Josh when he is put to work with the others gathering ginseng, a valuable root they refer to as "'sang" and trade once a year to Chinese merchants. Over and over again Josh tries to escape--by road and by river--but finds that somehow all routes lead back to this village that time has forgotten. When Josh finally joins in the villagers' rituals and celebrations, his feelings of despair about his own future begin to transform and heal. And after his loyalty to the Melungeons is tested, Josh finds that he is free at last to make the decision to leave. (Ages 11 to 15) --Patty Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:20 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When his mother is killed in an automobile accident, high-schooler Josh decides to hitchhike across country, and finds himself trapped in a mysterious village somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, among a group of people who call themselves Melungeons.… (more)

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