Father’s Arcane Daughter. by E. L. Konigsburg.

Father’s Arcane Daughter

E. L. Konigsburg. Atheneum: 1976.

Teenage novel about a woman who claims to be the long-lost & kidnapped daughter, and the effects of this claim on the family. The teenage son and handicapped pre-teen daughter have a very close relationship which is interesting to watch change, complete with realistic conflicting emotions in the boy.

The book is, in the end, perhaps too simplistic: the stepmother has kept the handicapped child secreted away, thus making her more socially & emotionally handicapped, and therefore making it more important to keep her separate from society. However, in the context of the novel, especially as it is written for teens, it works well enough.

A curious side-show is whether or not the father really believes the returned daughter is his – and the semi-incestuous feelings he has. Not really sure what the author is driving at with this.