Review Blog

Jul 28 2009

The sea-wreck stranger by Anna Mackenzie

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Text Publishing, 2009. ISBN 9781921520361. (Ages: 11+) Recommended. A half drowned, battered man washes up on the shore of a closed island community, one where its inhabitants risk death if they walk near the sea. The community turned its back on the sea years before after many of its people died after eating fish. Nes, more spirited than most, feels drawn to the sea and so finding Dev amongst the seaweed, patches his wounds and hides him in the cave she often visits.
Her life however is unsettled, only vaguely linked to the people she lives with, she is closest to a woman who lives alone close by, but who falls under suspicion for possibly breaking the taboos of her village. This dystopian world, a small remnant of a civilization now decimated by environmental pollution, has become closed and male dominated, suspicious and wary.
The claustrophobic feeling when reading this book is overwhelming, as you read of this young girl, trying to capture something of the outside through the man she rescues. She is intrigued by what is there, a place her father visited before he died, and resents the ominous presence of the next door neighbours, especially after being told that marriage between she and his son would unite the two farms.When other members of the village become aware of the man's presence, the search is on, and Ness must try to rescue him before he is discovered and her part in his survival known.
A breathtaking, very scary story, which I hope will have a sequel.
Fran Knight

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