Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ARC SPOT: The Wall

The Wall
William Sutcliffe
Bloomsbury Walker Books
Releases: 6.4.13
ISBN: 9780802734921
Hardcover, 304 pgs.

Author On The Net:

Blurb From The Publisher:

Drawn from a frightening political reality, The Wall shows the devastating effect of occupation and segregation on ordinary lives.
Joshua lives with his mother and step-father in Amarias, an isolated town, where all the houses are brand new. Amarias is surrounded by a high wall, guarded by soldiers, which can only be crossed through a heavily fortified checkpoint. Joshua has been taught that the Wall is the only thing keeping his people safe from a brutal and unforgiving enemy.One day, Joshua stumbles across a tunnel that leads underneath the Wall. The chance to catch a glimpse of life on the other side of the Wall is too tempting to resist. He's heard plenty of stories about the other side, but nothing has prepared him for what he finds . . .Set in a tense reality closely mirroring Israel's West bank, this deeply affecting parable of a boy who undertakes a short journey to another world lingers long after completion.

Our Thoughts On:

            Sometimes when you pick up a book, it seems like fiction. There is a dystopian feel to the story and as the plot develops and thickens a reader may wonder how society came to be some way. How could a people segregate others, or deny whole groups of people something, because they have determined it to be so. How can an army act a certain way, or how can children be raised to hate or fear others, convinced that some people are so different than them; their way of life so much different.
            There is a Wall. One side believes that they are a chosen people, that their ideals are superb and that their view of life and structure is the only one. One side is suffering, covered in rules and forced to abandon all they knew and held dear because they are on the “other”, the “wrong” side of a Wall.
            “The town of Amarias is fictional.” It says in the Author’s Note, but the story of the West Bank is not. While some places in The Wall are representations of the West Bank, much of the book’s characters are fictional. These characters face real challenges that real people do, with perceptions that people also hold true all over the world. The characters in The Wall are riveting and discovering so many things about each other and the different viewpoints on each side of the wall.

            This is a heart wrenching tale of two families that are both struggling to survive from their own demons; whether they be the constraints of a wall, or the abuse in a family plus the weight of war. William Sutcliff has created a fictional dynamic that feels like fantasy, but at the very real cost of possible present day outcomes and war. Ripe with interpersonal conflict and love, this story captivates readers into the struggles of two families on either side of the wall trying to protect the ones they love. Joshua has been born on the Amarias side of the Wall, his life has been sheltered, well fed and told horrible stories about the other side of the wall. Leila lives on that “other” side of the Wall, her world is full of danger, and hunger. The army is on the Amarias side, and Amarias is not only looking for more land to call their own with which they take by force, but also with displacing the people living on the other side as well. While families and farms have been bisected by these Walls erected by Amarias, and the destruction of the land nis not only destroying the families and their livelihood, but also their freedoms and beliefs.
            Joshua’s home is full of fear and hate, with an abusive stepfather and a grieving widow of a mother, there is much unrest. When crossing through a tunnel in the Wall, Joshua comes face to face with the other world he has been taught to fear, but instead finds an oppressed people and a friend.
            Leila was only trying to protect a boy, but soon finds that in helping Joshua she has threatened her family and her home. As the story unfolds you find that the youth are discovering more about their circumstance, and that trust and perseverance can make a garden grow. The Wall is fiction, but transpires along a thread that could be a story from families today. Well written and engaging this YA release with astound readers, but also leave them conflicted because the themes of the story are present day realities. Find out more about The Wall today, by picking up a copy.

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