The Power of the Printed Word

21 Nov

I spent much of the weekend curled up with The Reader by Traci Chee.

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Publisher’s Summary:Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

Man, this is a good one. It is Chee’s debut novel and I wonder if this is at all in the running for the 2017 Morris award.

Complex and multi-layered, this is not the simple book about the magical powers of reading I was expecting. Chee’s attention to details make this feel as if the world she has created might really exist. Featuring a strong female heroine of Asian descent, the book is full of diverse characters.

Alas, this is the first in a series, so readers will have to wait to see what happens next.

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