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Postcards from No Man’s Land

Postcards from No Man’s Land

Author(s): Aidan Chambers

Location(s): Netherlands

Genre(s): Historical, Young Adult

Era(s): WW2 and Modern

Two craftily interwoven stories, separated by 50 years in time, make upthis emotionally and intellectually challenging novel. Set in Holland, one story tells of the passionate love between a young Dutch woman and Jacob Todd, a wounded English soldier: “I filled the glass and gave it to the soldier who had not yet spoken, who now said, ‘Thanks, miss, you’re an angel of mercy.’ He had eyes that made me melt.”
The other story finds the English soldier’s grandson visiting Amsterdam for the commemoration of The Battle of Arnhem. Before he knows it, he’s way out of his emotional depth: “His arrival yesterday had been embarrassing. His visit to the Anne Frank house had been upsetting. His confusion of boy for girl unnerved him. The mugging had left him duff.” The learning curve is steep and readers can’t help becoming thoroughly engrossed in the powerful emotions as well as being confronted with questions which simply don’t have easy answers. This is a riveting, thought-provoking and thoroughly worthwhile read.

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