Outside in World | Browse Books
Use our Book Finder to search for books by Title (or part of the title), Author, ISBN, Age Range, Keyword, or Continent/Country. Then simply click the magnifying glass to start your search.
‘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 Mirjam Pressler
Age Range: 14+
Set in Venice in 1568, Mirjam Pressler’s novel subsists within the framework
of Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice. Sixteen-year-old Jessica is tired of the endless restrictions of the Jewish Ghetto and of her father Shylock’s meanness. She has fallen in love with the handsome, charming aristocratic Lorenzo and now she wants to be free. However, the price of freedom is
desperately high because Lorenzo is a Christian and Jessica a Jew.
The ambiguities of the play are explored and developed and some of the actual dialogue, especially Shylock’s words, takes the form of direct quotations from the play. Dalilah, Shylock’s foster-daughter, is an important new character and several chapters are narrated directly from Dalilah’s perspective. Venetian ghetto life is portrayed with historical accuracy and the author explores the plight of the Jews in a society where racism exists and cultures clash. The significance of Jessica’s feisty decision to turn her back on her religion and her family is brought into devastating focus in this powerful novel that is well written and beautifully characterised.
br> Praise must go to the translator, Brian Murdoch who has captured the text so faithfully.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)