"Тонкий меч": непростые размышления о смерти для подростков

"Thin sword": difficult reflections on death for teenagers

Very, very mixed feelings.

The novel "A Thin Sword" has all the signs of high-quality literature: a good style, excellent translation, an original plot, multi-layered and deep psychologism.

I will tell the plot (I think that parents it is worth knowing what happens in this book before giving it to children).
Sasha has a sad dad and a tender, sad, cancer-dying mom. Mr. Death comes for his mother and takes her with him, but Sasha cannot accept this and sets off in pursuit to return his mother.

So he ends up in the realm of the dead. Once here in the usual way, the souls are reborn - into pigs, dogs or birds, three peoples inhabit these lands. The lord of death pulls out a new creature from the mortal shell, cherishes it and cherishes it, grows it up and releases it into a new - afterlife - life. There are no additional meanings with animals here: pigs are not bad, birds are not good. Ordinary nations, each nation occupies a separate territory, and each has its own business. A long-standing enmity exists between them, but all the inhabitants simply adore Mr. Death. The appearance of a boy "from the other side" threatens their master with trouble, so everyone tries to interfere with Sasha.

However, there are also friends, and with them, with these anthropomorphic animals, Sasha gets to the house of Mr. Death . Their journey across the country is a real road movie, they will have to sit in a dungeon and bask in a luxurious castle, drown in rapids and work in a rose garden, poison themselves with unknown berries, take part in battles, ask strangers to stay for the night. So they become one team.

Arriving in the halls of Mr. Death, Sasha discovers his mother in her former appearance, Mr. Death fell in love with her and did not transform into another creature. And, of course, he is not going to part with her and let her go to the world of the living. But he does not drive Sasha away either, the boy spends a lot of time with his mother, until, finally, he manages to outwit the owner. Sasha comes up with a way to cure her mother in the realm of death, and returns with her, healthy and flourishing, home to her father.

The whole book is like a dream, as if shrouded in haze. Despite the talking piglets and fencing dogs in outfits and jewelry, in terms of mood and meaning this is not a fairy tale - rather, a novel-parable, a novel-metaphor.
So what caused conflicting feelings from reading? Exactly what mom comes back to the world of the living. In a children's book about death, I wanted to see the message that those who crossed the last frontier can be “touched with the heart”, that they are not bad “out there”; in the end, that “there” is generally something, but certainly not a happy ending with the resurrection. This book, in my opinion, can be read at the age when a person is already 100% aware that the departed cannot be returned, and will not be able to be deceived like that. What age is this? Probably from the age of 14. I strongly disagree with the opinion of the publisher that this book is for children from 8 years old. I'm afraid that at 8 or even 10 years old, a person may hold out the hope that he can still be corrected, because Sasha succeeded ...

But for a young adult - yes, an interesting attempt to look into the depths of the mystery of death.

View the book "Thin Sword" by Frieda Nilson


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