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Monday, 4 December 2017

Review: The Ones That Disappeared

The Ones that Disappeared is another brilliant piece of work by the author the 2017 ABIA winner, The Bone Sparrow, which was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Zana Fraillon has drawn attention to the most concerning issue of modern day slavery, the worst in the world’s history. 

The spotlight brings into focus, those nameless, voiceless beings - trafficked people, mainly children, that disappear without a trace daily around the world. Slavery is today the ‘fastest growing criminal industry in the world, generating over $150 billion a year’.

Esra, Miran, and Isa are the initial voices of the story; voices filled with strength, optimism and hope, although they have witnessed the brutal and horrendous outcome of disobeying orders, or trying to escape slavery. 

They survive by daily recounting their memories, and by nurturing the certainty that they will escape and return to their families and love. The entrance of Skeet, the fourth main character, lightens the dark the other three lives project.

When a miraculous opportunity to flee from certain death presents itself, the children take it. But Miran is caught and brutally bashed. He is admitted to a hospital under heavy guard, but even then, there is no escape. The other two children team up with Skeet, who leaves his home and drunken mother, to lead them in their search for Miran and freedom.

This is a heartbreaking and disturbing look at a global issue that is under-addressed due to its overwhelming size and growth.  Fraillon has created a superb story, based on well-research statistics that are frightening. 

Her unique style, interwoven with compassion, humanity and a strong voice, dares the reader to remain unmoved, which is impossible. The Author’s Note states ‘it is estimated that  there are over 30 million people currently enslaved, and that more than a quarter of these are children’.

Title: The Ones That Disappeared
Author: Zana Fraillon
Publisher: Hachette $19.99
Publication Date: June 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780734417152
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Fiction

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