Monday, 15 April 2013
Ailsa's comments on the Older Readers' shortlist
The Book of the Year: Older Readers category has certainly caught me by surprise this year. Although we had copies of all the books in the list at Rose Bay High, I had only read one of these and I have been desperately trying to catch up on my reading since the Shortlist was announced.
I have nothing but praise for Neil Grant's The Ink Bridge, which is both illuminating and confronting in its portrayal of life in Afghanistan through the eyes of Omed, fleeing from his home in Bamiyan after falling foul of the Taliban and risking certain death. The story of Omed's perilous journey to Australia and the friendship that ensues with a boy called Hec, who is suffering his own private torment, is set out in three distinct parts.
First there is Omed's story, followed by Hec's story, which intersects with Omed's when Omed goes to work at a candle factory belonging to Hec's father. Lastly, there is 'Across the Bridge' which follows Hec's journey to Afghanistan as a young man of twenty two, searching for his friend Omed who was deported back to Afghanistan after a relatively short time in Australia.
This part highlights many of the problems facing Afghanis as Hec travels through a war-ravaged Afghanistan in search of Omed, trying to piece together what happened to him after leaving Australia and enabling Hec to tell his story.
It certainly wouldn't surprise me if this was the winning book in the Older Reader's category considering the quality of the writing and the storyline, so I'll be keen to hear what the judges think come August.
I wonder how accurate Ailsa is. Do you agree with her? Which book do you think should be the winner?