May 8 2021
The Lost Soul Atlas, by Zana Fraillon
Title: The Lost Soul Atlas
Author: Zana Fraillon
Genre/ issues: YA. Fantasy.
Ok, so I could probably take a better photo, but I wanted to post about this extraordinary book while it’s fresh in my mind and I basically read the whole thing (bar the first 20 pages) on the flight yesterday so this feels appropriate.
Usually when we have an event with an author I try to read as much by them as I can, but time got away from me before our #SWF session with the incredible @zanafraillon – and because I wasn’t the one writing the interview questions, it didn’t seem to matter so much! I’d read the first couple of chapters though, and knew I wanted to finish it ASAP. So, yesterday’s flight to Perth was the perfect opportunity.
Twig finds himself in the Afterlife, but there are some things he’s lost – memories, for instance. He has this sneaking suspicion that there is something important he needs to remember. With a mysterious key, an equally mysterious atlas, and a wisecracking raven sidekick, he sets off to figure out what happened, and to find his way home.
So, that’s a suitably vague “back of the book” type blurb. The reality is, this book is hard to adequately describe, and equally hard to get out of your head. First thing to note: Fraillon words good. Her writing has this incredible balance of light and shade, and her language use is deft, subtle and exquisite. The way she presents the life of Twig and his best friend Flea, along with their found family of homeless and forgotten children, is heartbreaking and wonderful. The tragedy of lives lost and forgotten by a society that sees them as unimportant, disposable and inconvenient is something we should all be invested in. Delivered in this book through a beautiful blend of magic realism and tragic reality, I know that story of Twig and Flea will live on in my mind for a long time to come. I’m calling it – this one will be one of my books of the year, and a definite reread.