Synopses & Reviews
My story starts the day that my parents told me we must leave our adopted home forever. Because of the soldiers and the drought we barely had enough to eat and we could no longer stay to help the people in our village.
Right before we were leaving I saw a fish in a small brown puddle and I knew I had to take it with me. The journey would be hard to get across the mountainsto the safety of the border and the people there who could help us. Yet when I put the fish in the pot I never realized what we would have to face. It never occurred to me to leave Fish behind.
A subtle and sophisticated exploration of life, the strength of humanity, and survival in an unforgiving world, Fish is a story that will teach those who doubt that, when hope is almost extinguished, miracles can happen.
"'The story starts with the day I found the fish,' states the deceptive opening of this debut novel, an allegory grounded in remarkably tactile storytelling. The child narrator, whose name, gender and age are concealed by the nickname Tiger, has found the fish in a mud puddle, after a torrential downpour in the unnamed, drought-ridden and war-torn land where the narrator's parents are relief workers. Spare as the prose is, it teems with evocative details (e.g., when Tiger discovers the Fish, 'The glow of the colors had flooded my eyes, like when you open the curtains on a lovely sunny day'). But as war encroaches, Tiger's parents engage a man called the Guide (he tells Tiger his name is too difficult to pronounce) and his donkey to lead them across the border. The Guide respects the child's wish to save the Fish and suggests Tiger transport it in a lidded pot. As the Guide and Tiger's family make a dangerous journey through the mountains, the allegorical elements of the novel take on dramatic import (e.g., the fish changes size to fit the containers available a water bottle; even Tiger's mouth at one desperate point), and readers can bring their own interpretation and experience to the symbolism embedded here. In keeping the narrative so carefully attuned to a child's perspective, Matthews allows just enough detail and heart to make miracles feel possible. Ages 10-up. (June) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A subtle and sophisticated exploration of life, the strength of humanity, and survival in an unforgiving world, "Fish" is a story that will teach those who doubt that, when hope is almost extinguished, miracles can happen.
About the Author
L. S. Matthews is a first-time author, and the winner of the Fidler Award for her book Fish, an award given for a first novel for children. She lives and writes in England.