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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)
by Cornelia Funke
Age Range: 12+
Cornelia Funke has created a lengthy fantasy, which addresses the very essence
of the reading experience. Meggie’s life revolves around books, and she reads
endlessly, able to select from the innumerable volumes in her home. Her only
sorrow is that her father, Mo, a bookbinder, will never read aloud, fearful of his
power to draw characters from their books into his own time. This he does in the
case of a violent modern Italian novel, ‘Inkheart’, unwittingly summoning up its
vicious hero, Capricorn, while at the same time losing his own wife into that
novel. Cornelia Funke integrates real and realised characters into a disturbing
tale of timeless vendettas played out within the modern world. She heads each
chapter with a quotation from literature, usually children’s, constantly reasserting
the power of the written word.
Throughout it all, readers empathise totally with Meggie, who, desperate to find her mother, always faces the dilemmas which reading has brought her. An absorbing, frightening and stimulating book to encourage readers to address many ethical and philosophical issues.
The sequels are Inkspell and Inkdeath.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)