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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
In the Shadow of the Ark
by Anne Provoost
Age Range: 14+
The rising waters in the Marsh Lands have forced Re Jana and her family to flee
their home and settle in the desert that has now been transformed into a tented
city bustling with industry. Her father is a boat builder and they set up camp
alongside the shipyard where a giant boat is being constructed. Rumours of
an impending flood seem too remote to be believable in a land where water
is scarce. The Builder, an ailing, autocratic and stubborn old man, follows the
commands of his God the ‘Unnameable’, who is a demanding deity.
Despite falling in love with Ham, the Builder’s son, Re Jana questions everything that she hears. As the skies darken and the deluge finally begins, panic spreads throughout the gathering tribes as the doors to the ark are finally sealed.
Anne Provoost has spun a dark, elegantly written epic, set in the apocalyptic days of Noah’s ark. The detailed descriptions of the building of the ark are masterly and John Nieuwenhuizen’s translation captures the rich tapestry of this story. This is a book that can be appreciated by older readers and adults as well.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)