POSTCARDS FROM NO MAN’S LAND by Aidan Chambers
Kirkus Star

POSTCARDS FROM NO MAN’S LAND

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

Seventeen-year-old Jacob Todd has come from England to Amsterdam to honor his grandfather, also named Jacob Todd, a British soldier who fought and died in Holland in 1944. Early on, Jacob is robbed, meets a sexy woman who turns out to be a man, is helped by a kind older woman, and finds himself on the doorstep of his cousin Daan. Jacob’s journey is paralleled by the story of Geertrui van Riet, his Dutch grandmother. Geertrui is old now and dying of cancer, and she wants Jacob to know her story, which is also the story of his grandfather. “It matters that you know your place in the world,” she tells Jacob. Jacob’s grandfather is the connecting link in the dual narratives of this novel; though he had a family back home in England, he fell in love with Geertrui, and their relationship has become part of young Jacob’s inheritance. Chambers’s Carnegie Medal–winning work is a rich, complex story that tackles big themes: time, death, happiness, love, sex, war, and the meaning of life. It covers much ground, from WWII to the present, from Anne Frank to Ben Jonson to Rembrandt and his son Titus. Jacob realizes that finding his place in the world involves understanding the past, observing life with complete attention, and holding onto ideals. “You have to know your own truth and stick to it. And never despair. Never give up. There’s always hope.” This is a wide-ranging, challenging, beautifully written novel for older teenagers and adults who love to settle into a big, rewarding story. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-525-46863-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2002




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