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Thursday 25 April 2013

Review: Evan's Gallipoli

It is WW1, and Evan is 14-years-old when his father, a deeply religious man, decides they should set out for the Dardenelles with spices, lice powder and herbal remedies accompanied by the word of God to offer comfort to the soldiers.  The two embark on an unknown and astonishing adventure fuelled by faith, unable to imagine the horrors they will encounter.

At Gallipoli, Evan’s world consists of noise, dead bodies and the stench of rotting corpses in the trenches; filth, hunger and prayer. Across the sea from the war is the island of Lemnos. This becomes their resting place when his father suffers from shell-shock, loses his mind and becomes very ill.

Evan strikes up an unlikely friendship and gains a travelling companion in Abdul, a Muslim boy who is running away from the enemy who hunts him to use him as a tool to manipulate his powerful father. Is he friend or foe? Abdul alternates between secrecy and warmth in his friendship towards Evan, who to the contrary, sees the other boy as a brother.

Father and son find unusual allies and help from strange sources during their travels. They also view a world that is collapsing under the futility of war. Villages are sacked. Hunger has crippled the populations. But their faith is unwavering and their generous hearts and spirits bring succour to the damaged bodies and souls that flood their daily lives.  Amidst the compassion and comfort generated by their faith, Evan is faced with the greatest ethical dilemma of his life.

This descriptive and meticulously researched novel contains a great deal of historical information about Gallipoli and the warring countries. The immediate and crisp writing style presents the story through journal entries with an astonishing revelation at the end. It is a superbly written novel that will grip and hold the reader from the first to the last word.

Title: Evan’s Gallipoli
Author: Kerry Greenwood
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $15.99 RRP
Publication Date: April 2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781743311356
For Ages: 12+
Type: Middle Fiction