Newbery Project – Golden Goblet

I must have read The Golden Goblet, which was a Newbery Honor in 1962, at least six times when I was a kid, but I had not read it in at least fifteen years. I was surprised, because many of the scenes that I most vividly remember came in the last 50 or so pages of the book, rather than being the main action of the story. In general, the pacing was a bit slower than I remembered. Ranofer spends an awful lot of time dithering about what to do before finally acting. I suspect that this is why my memories of the book center mostly on the action-packed last chapters. However, I didn’t feel like the plot was dragging and I was never bored, so that’s a merit of the fine writing.

I think what I like best about The Golden Goblet  is the same aspect that I love about the Little House books: the intense attention to detail of daily life. Talking about the book with a ten year old I know, he said to me “this book made me want to live in Egypt and be a goldworker.” I certainly couldn’t argue.

I did find it odd that Ranofer’s friend Heqet says a lot of weird things that Ranofer seems to think is hilarious, but which never, not even once, seemed even vaguely amusing to me. Did the author think it was funny, or was it supposed to be an example of how humor can vary widely across cultures?


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