The characteristically serious voice of Eileen Dunlop tells about a haunting which nearly shipwrecks a youngster’s mind. Nicholas is deaf, as a consequence of an illness, and his bitter rage at losing touch with ordinary conversation and his beloved musical studies leaves him vulnerable to invasion by a lost soul who has haunted an island for a thousand years. His own willingness to slip back into a past where he can hear music and sing brings him to a wish to share the other boy’s life in a monastery; moreover he has always been a loner, and the lost boy has a sunny twin brother, Aiden. Tumult and confusion flood Nicholas’s mind as the lost boy’s jealousy of his twin grips him, and a timeless story of passionate good and evil plays out. The boy tries to harm his brother, who then dies and becomes a white seagull. The ageless gull then also haunts Nicholas, and rescues his soul.
Though this is a story for all age-groups, as folk and faery tales are, and it has real staying power, it is not for every child. A teacher or parent should think before sharing it with a child because it is powerful and disturbing, though it is ultimately enriching and full of faith. Thoughtful children would find it memorable and rewarding.