"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Pull of the Ocean


The Pull of the Ocean

Author: Jean-Claude Mourlevat,

Translator: Y. Maudet

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

ISBN-10: 0385733488

ISBN-13: 978-0385733489


The Pull of the Ocean is a wild little story based upon the tale The Adventures of Tom Thumb by Charles Perrault and I absolutely adored it.

Yann Doutreleau has six brothers, all tall for their age, but he is no more than two feet tall. Yann is the youngest and mute but also the cleverest and most intelligent of the brothers as well as the undisputed leader. He communicates by gestures and looks and can say more with his eyes than most people can say with their voice. Yann loves school and learning while his brothers do not. The Doutreleau brothers are very protective of Yann and love him very much in spite of his differences or perhaps because of them.

On a dark and stormy night, little Yann, overhears his parents fighting and wakes his three sets of twin brothers telling them that the parents plan to harm them. They leave, led by Yann and start a journey to the ocean. It’s a strange little parade, three sets of malnourished, ragged twin boys and one very tiny doll of a boy leading the way sometimes from the inside of a bag.

Each chapter is narrated by a different person; a school social worker, police, a student, a baker, a writer, each of the brothers and others and each has their own perspective on what they saw, did or heard so the book ends up being 21 points of view.

I found the story completely enchanting from the very first page. It’s a lovely little jigsaw of a fable on the spirit of brotherhood and I highly recommend it. The Pull of the Ocean was the winner of a prestigious award when it was first published in France and I expect it will win its share here. Buy it and read it, you won’t be disappointed.

About the Author:

Jean-Claude Mourlevat is a major author of children's fiction in his native France, where his novels have garnered numerous literary awards. The author lives in France.

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