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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)
Secrets in the Fire
by Henning Mankell
Age Range: 14+
Sofia and her family flee from their home in rural Mozambique after bandits destroy their village and kill most of the inhabitants, including her father. Desperately poor, they attempt to start afresh, but the dangers of war are ever present. Sofia is forced to rebuild her life when she and her sister, Maria, are involved in a landmine explosion that has devastating consequences – her sister is killed and she loses both her legs.
This is based on a true story of a young girl living in war-torn Mozambique. Pitted against incredible adversity Sofia’s courage manages to shine through as she comes to terms with her terrible disability and transcends the brutality and horror that has shattered her childhood.
Henning Mankell is best known for his detective novels, but these important books ( Playing With Fire and The Fury in the Fire) are delivered in spare, unsentimental language that provide teenage readers with an understanding of the issues of landmines and the AIDS epidemic.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)