by Cornelia Funke
“Children are like caterpillars and adults are like butterflies. No butterfly ever remembers what it felt like being a caterpillar.”
As a kid, I often observed a few friends, and their peculiar attempts to act far beyond their actual age. At a time when I wanted to talk about my favourite Pokemon, they wanted to talk about their favourite stocks… Yeah, this was like ten years back.
And now, the same happens in the book clubs I recently joined. People want to discuss Dostovsky and Kafka and Voltaire, but I just cannot move past these genres that I do love.
And anyway, who cannot find gold in a gold mine? Most miners would tell you that it is actually quite drudgous work. Plus, you wouldn’t get to keep it. Finding it in an obscure riverbed is the real deal.
Now, with that in mind, we welcome back Cornelia Funke into the list, and feature one of our personal favourites in The Thief Lord.
Set in the scenic city of Venice, this book follows the story of two young brothers, who run away from a cruel aunt and an annoying uncle, and join the enigmatic Thief Lord and his band of teeny thieves.
The alternate line of narrative follows the private detective employed by the aforementioned aunt to find the kids.
However, as the story progresses and the two narratives overlap, skeletons tumble out of closets, which eventually leads the kids through a fantasy far beyond their expectation.
As with most children’s books, it does work with a defined set of good guys and bad guys, but the protagonists being all thieves probably does draw it away from the norm.
Despite the comparatively young target audience, the book asks the reader some very pertinent questions about what it really means to be a grown up, questions to which I still do not have satisfactory answers.
The one thing I do not understand is this genre’s obsession with orphaned boys. I mean, it is understandable from the writer’s point of view, considering the emotional baggage this element grants to the character, not to mention the freedom to the plot; nevertheless, the fact that the readers seem to relate with it is somewhat disturbing…
Anyway, the book, in general, is pretty nice, whether you cannot wait to start wearing your big-boy-pants, or happen to be wondering if you made a mistake growing up.
Do take a look at it. You can find it here:
Also, do note that the narrative style, tone and other such attributes can vary a lot, according to the translation.
Well, I guess that is all for tonight.