Monday, 26 August 2013

The Ink Bridge

'The Ink Bridge' by Neil Grant is one of the shortlisted books for the Australian Children's Book Awards.
'The Ink Bridge' is a captivating read that confronts us with the harsh realities of refugees, asylum seekers and people smugglers.
The initial setting for the book is Afghanistan, and the story begins with the vivid spectacle of local Hazara men forced by the Taliban to destroy the ancient Buddha statues of Bamiyan.
The day is one of complete horror for Omed, who witnesses the destruction of the fifteen hundred year old statues, the death of his friend, and another atrocity which I will leave readers to discover for themselves. The Taliban come looking for Omed and he must escape. He teams up with 'The Snake'; a sinister man. Unfortunately for Omed their relationship is co-dependant.
The pair make their way to a refugee camp in Pakistan and then travel to Australia by boat.
After fleeing a detention centre they arrive in Melbourne. Both men end up working in a candle-making factory in Melbourne.
Omed meets Hec-both teens are mute for one reason or another-and their stories become intertwined. Without giving away too many details, in the last phase of the book Hec travels to Afghanistan to look for Omed. He witnesses modern Afghanistan and travels through regions dominated by warlords and landmines.
'The Ink Bridge' explores complex issues of illegal immigration and people-smuggling and challenges the readers' perception of right and wrong.
The story of Omed will leave you wondering long after you have finished reading this book. It gives a human insight into what is currently a hot political debate.
-Ann

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