Sunday, October 9, 2011
Clowning Sim by David Martin
Well, I am back from a month in France and am reading a few more childrens' books. I have just finished this Australian novel written in 1988 which I found in an opportunity shop recently. This Australian novel was made into a television series which aired in 1992 through 1993 which I haven't actually seen. The novel is nothing short of bizarre but I found it improved as I persevered with it. Sim, who is the class clown, fails on stage and finds his new foster home not quite working out, so he simply takes off which is something he is prone to doing when the going gets tough. He joins a rodeo tour as a clown who detracts marauding beasts away from calf ropers, steer wrestlers and bull riders. This job doesn't work out too well for him either as his ideas to change the show downright aggravate the owner, Theo Carter. He then joins a rundown circus where he finally by chance meets Anatole Tolin, the one-armed acrobat who lost his arm in stinky Rotorua, who can take him places, namely France. I didn't find the main character Sim at all endearing or engaging but the strangeness of the plot kept me reading; I have never read a book quite like this one before. The dialogue is stilted and unnatural yet the vivid descriptions and refreshing use of similes keep the text alive. There is not a great deal available on the internet about the author David Martin (1915-1997), but it seems he wrote a variety of novels for teenages dealing with intercultural issues. He was born in Budapest, Hungary and educated in Germany.