Postcards From No Man's Land

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9780099408628: Postcards From No Man's Land

Seventeen-year-old Jacob Todd is about to discover himself. Jacob's plan is to go to Amsterdam to honor his grandfather who died during World War II. He expects to go, set flowers on his grandfather's tombstone, and explore the city. But nothing goes as planned. Jacob isn't prepared for love&150or to face questions about his sexuality. Most of all, he isn't prepared to hear what Geertrui, the woman who nursed his grandfather during the war, has to say about their relationship. Geertrui was always known as Jacob's grandfather's kind and generous nurse. But it seems that in the midst of terrible danger, Geertrui and Jacob's grandfather's time together blossomed into something more than a girl caring for a wounded soldier. And like Jacob, Geertrui was not prepared. Geertrui and Jacob live worlds apart, but their voices blend together to tell one story&150a story that transcends time and place and war. By turns moving, vulnerable, and thrilling, this extraordinary novel takes the reader on a memorable voyage of discovery.

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About the Author:

Aidan Chambers is an author of novels and plays. Born in the north of England, he worked as a high school teacher for eleven years, during which time he was also a monk for seven years, before he left both teaching and the monastery to establish himself as a full-time author. He has written for many newspapers and journals as well as television and radio, and is well known as a writer and lecturer on the nature and value of reading and literature. In 1969 he and his American wife Nancy founded Thimble Press, which publishes books about children's literature and the magazine 'SIGNAL: Approaches to Children's Books', internationally recognized as one of the most important in its field. His books are published in many languages. Among other prizes, his novel Postcards From No Man's Land was honored with the Carnegie Medal, Britain's most prestigious recognition for children's and youth literature, and the Italian Andersen Award. He is also the recipient of The Children's Literature Association Award for excellence in literary criticism, and the British Eleanor Farjeon Award for outstanding services to children's books. He is currently writing the sixth and last of his youth novels which make a family Sequence, a body of work he describes on the BOOKS page of his Web site.

From Publishers Weekly:

Sophisticated teenage readers yearning for a wider view of life may find themselves intoxicated by this Carnegie Medal¤winning novel from Chambers (The Toll Bridge; Dance on My Grave), recent recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Author Award. Jam-packed with ideas and filled with passionate characters, the story is made up of two narratives, one set in the mid-1990s and the other in 1944. The inevitable but surprising ways in which these two tales connect form the novel¡s backbone. Bookish, intense and self-conscious, Jacob Todd, 17, has left his English home to spend a few days in the Netherlands paying homage to the soldier grandfather he never knew, and visiting Geertrui, the Dutch woman who took care of his grandfather after he was wounded in battle. Shortly after meeting a beguiling stranger, a mugging leaves Jacob stranded in Amsterdam, forcing him into the initially awkward role of houseguest to Geertrui¡s forceful and freethinking grandson, Daan. The second story, set in occupied Holland at the time of the battle to liberate Oosterbeck, and narrated by Geertrui, chronicles her long-ago relationship with Jacob¡s grandfather. As each narrative unwinds, parallels and differences between the two eras emerge. Along with literature, art and love, topics dealt with here include euthanasia, adultery and bisexuality. These issues never become problems to be solved; rather, they are part of the story's texture, neither more nor less significant than the precarious joy of investigating a new city and a foreign culture. No tidy endings here - the concluding scenes present Jacob with a complicated moral dilemma that remains unresolved. The implied challenges of the future make the final pages all the more satisfying: it's clear that Jacob can not only cope with ambiguity but can employ it to enlarge himself on the voyage of self-discovery he has so auspiciously begun. Ages 14-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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