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THE BROKEN BRIDGE by Philip Pullman


by Philip Pullman

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: April 10th, 1992
ISBN: 0-679-81972-X
Publisher: Knopf

 Ginny's peaceful life in a Welsh village with father Tony is disrupted when it's revealed that she has an older half brother, Robert, also 16. Her mother, she's been told, was a Haitian artist who died soon after her birth; now Ginny also learns that Robert's recently deceased mother--not hers--was Tony's wife, a discovery that casts doubt on the little Tony has said about her origins. Already struggling for self-identity as a teenager, a gifted artist, and almost the only dark-skinned person she knows, Ginny is drawn into a search for a past now gradually revealed as far more convoluted than she imagined, with enough woe to explain Tony's reticence and enough surprises to keep readers guessing. Master storyteller Pullman (The Ruby in the Smoke, 1987) provides an engrossing plot and a richly varied cast, including Robert (who becomes an unexpected ally); some painfully believable uptight grandparents; and a thug called Joe Chicago, who plays an important role in resolving the image of the broken bridge--a local site where a tragic misadventure is said to have taken place. Ginny is less concerned with being black than with realizing herself as an artist; as such, she is sharply realized, an intelligent and creative observer. She's also committed to finding a personal balance between qualities a friend polarizes as ``sexy'' (charismatic and original) and ``kind'' (but often boring); in the end, she survives the many dramatic revelations with the best of both. Almost impossible to put down. (Fiction. 12+)