Zucchero filato

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Author Derk Visser
Translator Olga Amagliani
Pages 144
Date of publication September 2018

Winner of Wlag en Wimpel Prize 2016

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SUIKERSPIN tells the story of 12-year-old Ezra, who tries to keep her family from falling apart after father returns home from war suffering from PTSD. Ezra lives with her parents and her younger sister Zoe in a block of flats in the outskirts of a Dutch town, in a neighborhood daily patrolled by police cars. Ezra’s father served as a peacekeeping soldier, but the mission didn’t go exactly as planned; when he comes home he is first considered a hero, but with the traditional fireworks for New Year’s Eve he suddenly dives under the table and then flees the house. After that incident, he spends most of his time at home, smoking on the balcony. He is afraid of everything and gets easily angry. This makes daily life at home quite stressful for the two little girls and Ezra is sent to a psychologist. She is a tough but sensitive girl, who does her best to help her sister and parents and to keep social workers at a distance, but after a while mother and daughters are put in a women’s shelter. When Ezra’s father finally decides to seek help at a trauma clinic for war veterans, things get better and the three women return home. The theme of the book is dramatic, but the dialogues are humorous and spontaneous, the characters are vivid. Young readers will see that if you are strong and positive enough you can overcome all problems. The theme of war’s damage on people is also well rendered with the father of Ezra and the socially disadvantaged setting will help young readers understand their neighbours’ lives. This novel was greatly acclaimed by Dutch critics, since it touches social themes without falling into a moralizing plea. It’s a genuine story, where content and style go perfectly hand in hand.

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