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.
This story starts with the day I found the fish.
I was standing about with nothing to do, by the huge puddle I called a pond. Dad said it wasn't a proper pond, because the floody rain had left it there by accident, and it would disappear again soon.
I said, "What is it then? Because it's too big to be a puddle."
Dad had to agree I was right. He is quite tall, and it was as wide each way as three Dads if you laid them out head to toe, in a line.
At least, it had been that big. It had been shrinking every day since the rain had stopped, and now I realized that it had become the puddle that Dad had always said it was.
Anyway, I was standing about, as I said, with a stick in my hand poking at things, because there was nothing else to do. I couldn't swish the stick in the water because I couldn't get close enough to the edge. The mud was terrible. I had already fallen over in it three times and my clothes were covered in it. I wasn't ...
This is a gorgeous little book. The story is set in an unidentified country and told by a child of indeterminate age. It's interesting to note how one lays ones own assumptions over a story. For example, I assumed that the voice of the child was female and it was only when reading other reviews after I finished (including one in which the writer is convinced that it is a boy telling the story) that I realized that the author never states, or even implies, whether the narrator is a boy or girl; he/she is simply referred to by the nickname ' Tiger'. I think the setting is probably a country somewhere in South Asia, but the point is we don't know, and we don't need to know, because not knowing leaves us free to put our own interpretation on events.
'Fish' is targeted at grades 4-8. Many readers in this age group should enjoy this as a simple adventure story but those who are mature enough to understand the underlying message could find that Fish is one of those rare books that they still have room for on their shelf right through to adulthood (the same place that The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico has on mine).
If you liked Fish, try these:
The devastating story of war through the eyes of a child soldier. Beah tells how, at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, hed been picked up by the government army, and became a soldier.
Magic hovers just beneath the surface in this unusual and moving story about the bond between a boy and his grandfather.
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Southern Gothic fantasy with a contemporary flare set in Savannah
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