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Publication: The Horn Book Magazine
Date published:
Language: English
PMID: 28505
ISSN: 00185078
Journal code: IHBO

Carmen by Walter Dean Myers High School Egmont 110pp. 4/11 978-1-60684-115-0 $16.99 Library ed. 978-1-60684-192-1 $19.99 g

Myers s is at least the third YA adaptation of Bizet's opera to come out in the past year. Why her? Why now? Written as a play with occasional arias, this version of Carmen is set in contemporary Spanish Harlem: Carmen works in a wig factory, José is a beat cop, Micaela dreams of being a teacher, and the toreador Escamillo is a rapper from the hood turned mogul. The libretto is dramatic and passionate ('Oh, Officer José, tell me what my lips say to you"), spiced with funny repartee between the police and the neighborhood folk; in all, there are twenty-five speaking parts. Although the book works perfectly well as a read-alone experience, high school divas will welcome the challenge of the title role: Carmen is sexy, sad, sentimental, icy, and, of course, doomed, here meeting her fate outside Madison Square Garden. An excellent note by Myers on Merimee's original 1845 novella and its subsequent incarnations is appended, along with the melody lines for the songs; sound files are promised for the publisher's website. ROGER SUTTON

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