Sunday, 1 November 2009

"The Search" by Maureen Myant

Having just seen Protektor at the London Film Festival, which also portrays life in what was then Czechoslovakia under the Nazis, I felt I had to go back and read this book again, which I did and it was just as good as I remembered it being the first time round.

Myant tells of a family forcibly split up by the Nazis after the husband / father has been killed, and follows the efforts of Jan, who is only ten years old, to seek out his different family members and re-unite them.

This she does well. There are some tense scenes, particularly when German soldiers are conducting searches, and also some powerfully emotional scenes, not least the bitter sweet ending, which I will not reveal. It reminded me a little of reading The Silver Sword by Ian Seraillier when I was young. I wonder if Myant had read this too? It seems such an obvious parallel, though there the family are Polish, I think.

This is a first novel, and promises well for the future. It is certainly a whole lot better than many I have been forced to read while judging first novel prizes. Alma Books are to be congratulated on being ready to support such a promising writer.

"The Search" is published by Alma Books under ISBN 978-1-84688-092-6

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