Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Book Review: 'The Little Prince Returns' by Yoram Selbst

The Little Prince Returns by Yoram Selbst
‘Draw me a ship. Please draw me a ship.’

Israeli author Yoram Selbst completed his army service in the Armoured Corps, studied for a first degree in Philosophy and Political Science at the Hebrew University, a second degree in Political Science with a thesis on the transition from Positivism to Deconstructionism in the twentieth century, and a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing in the Department of Literature at the Ben Gurion University after which he wrote articles, book reviews and poems published in literary journals. After writing three children’s books, two books of poetry and winning awards his last book was The Little Prince Returns – the first of his works to be translated from Hebrew into English. 

Yoram has given us that unexpected pleasure of bringing some closure to everyone’s favorite book, THE LITTLE PRINCE. Reading his ‘return’ tale is not only in fine competition with Antoine de Saint- Exupéry’s writing style, but he also takes a story pleading for continuation and has successfully accomplished that. 

The plot distillation of this book has been well defined by Yoram and to attempt to improve on the story’s content would not be possible. Hence, the story outline as follows: ‘Remember Antoine de Exupéry, that wonderful author and not so successful pilot, who crash landed his airplane in the Sahara desert so many years ago, with scarcely enough water to keep himself alive for a week. Remember how a magical, curly-headed little prince suddenly appeared out of nowhere and insisted that he draw him a sheep. Remember Antoine’s enchanting description of the days they spent together before his companion disappeared as abruptly as he had appeared. And remember his anguished appeal to anyone who might meet him again to: “Please comfort me. Send me word that he has come back.” Decades passed. Those who longed for his return could only dream. And then, one day, it fell to the good fortune of a young fisherman lost at sea, afloat on a little ship that he had stolen from its owner, to discover the very same curly-headed prince splashing in the water below him, calling for help. He rushed to help him aboard. This book tells the tale of what happened after that moment, of the blossoming of friendship and understanding between two unlikely companions as, over many cups of tea brewed with the last of their water, they shared their life experiences and their inner feelings. It is an attempt to recapture the unforgettable magic of that earlier encounter.’

This is a splendid little book, well illustrated, worthy of awards, but more important, worthy of owning and reading over and over. Highly Recommended.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.