A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux, translated from the French by Y. Maudet
Koumail knows that his real name is Blaise Fortune. He is a French citizen. As a baby, he was rescued from a train wreck by Gloria. Since the age of 7, they have been on the run from the rebels, from the war. He doesn't understand the war and everytime he asks, Gloria tells him that it's useless to try to understand the Caucasus. It's not the concern of a French citizen. And so they try to get from Georgia to France, finding kindness and refuge, fleeing from rebels and militias. The politics aren't fully explained until the end and it's hard to know what they're running from, but this confusion that the reader feels is the same that Koumail feels-- he knows they are refugees and that the soldiers mean badness and that's all the reader knows as well.
It's hard to pinpoint, this book. It's quiet and fast-moving at the same time. We start when he is 7, we end when he is 20, but the book is only 180 pages long and the chapters are short. Koumail narrates his story simply, and to the point. Despite all the action, it's still going to be a book for your readers-- Koumail's constant upheaval is just the way his life is, so he's not that focused on it. Instead, he focuses on the relationships he makes-- the friends he meets and inevitably loses along the way. Through it all his is relationship with Gloria, the woman who has raised him and his fear that he will lose her, too.
The twist isn't that hard to see coming, but the twist isn't what's important. It's how Koumail grows, how he focuses on the positive so he doesn't give in to despair and his journey.
It's not a book for everyone, but I really loved it.
Book Provided by... my local library
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