Fing's War

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Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
Enchanted Lion Books
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.6 X 1.5 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Benny Lindelauf is a multi-award-winning Dutch children's book author who has published twelve books in Holland, several of which have appeared in translation. He also teaches creative writing to adults and children. Nine Open Arms has been translated into six languages, including Czech and Korean, and both it and its Dutch sequel, Fing's War , have won several prestigious awards in the Netherlands. Imagination, wit and drama are crucial ingredients in Benny's stories, where the narrative is always woven together in an exceptional way. Lindelauf once said: "Writing is like moving from one house to the next over and over again." In Nine Open Arms, the writing moves through many rooms and houses, even worlds.


★ "Hard battles form this satisfying novel's throughline, some fought in the open but most won or lost in the heart." --STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews
"One of the great postwar temptations for storytellers is to equip their characters with a moral clarity that comports with the judgments of history. Mr. Lindelauf resists this, instead conveying the bewilderments of the time as seen by unworldly children and teenagers. By 1940, for instance, German troops have moved into the town, and Fing tells us: "The only dead civilian was a man who had fallen from the church steeple. It was a strange story. Not only was the window in the tower so high up that it was just about impossible to reach . . . but the man who died was not even a Catholic but a Jew." We're also shown how other people's suffering can seem peripheral until suffering comes knocking at our own door. In the early chapters, Fing's father and older brothers seem like background figures until suddenly--shockingly--the Germans take them away. With great skill, Mr. Lindelauf lays out delicate narrative threads that he then ties together in unexpected ways in this tender, harrowing novel for readers ages 12 and older." --Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal
"A reality-grounded book with a magic element takes place in 1938 on the border of Holland and Germany. An energetic large-family story but with a dark edge." --Globe and Mail
"A sequel to Nine Open Arms, this novel by acclaimed Dutch author Lindelauf also reads well as a stand-alone. Fing (Josephine) Boon, growing up in a dilapidated house in a family of nine, is just becoming a teenager as World War II affects her home town in the Netherlands. First, it seems not much has changed. Then her brothers and father are taken away to a labour camp in punishment for a prank. As her grandmother lapses into uncharacteristic silence, Fing puzzles through the ideologies and loyalties of her neighbours, boyfriend and sisters--especially her sister Jess, whose physical weakness hides the most resistant, subversive will of them all. There's no retrospective moral certainty governing Lindelauf's depiction of Fing, whose innocence, confusion and ignorance slowly, and often painfully, diminish as events and the fallout of her own actions unfold under the German occupation. With complex characterization (no simplistic "life lessons" here) and a vivid, absorbing setting, this is a deeply satisfying work. Highly recommended." --Toronto Star
"As the Jews [in Fing's town] are rounded up, the townspeople's true selves are revealed, long-held secrets are divulged, and daring plans are put into place. It all works out in the end, but what a rollicking, roller coaster ride we go on to get there...More than another Holocaust story, Fing's War provides an excellent setting for the Jewish values of honoring one's elders, welcoming the stranger, taking care of the sick, and more. If adding this title to your Middle Grade library collection, be sure to add the first book as well."--Kathy Bloomfield, Association of Jewish Libraries News & Reviews
"Highly recommended...Lindelauf's ambitious novel is an unsparing exploration of life in Nazi occupied Europe and of the painful internal life of an adolescent girl trapped in a world where nothing is what it seems. Lindelauf's skill in pacing the narrative causes each individual choice to take place within a sea of multiple possibilities. Early in the novel, Fing describes her attachment to Nine Open Arms, her family's ramshackle old home: "Every time our house appeared at the end of the road...I tried to see it the way someone else would see it, someone not familiar with it." Her insight is equally valid as a view of the novelist's technique in Fing's War, where complex characters with uncertain fates challenge the reader to keep pace with history. " -Emily Schneider, Jewish Book Council