Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

ear the eye This science fiction/fantasy book is set in the future, Zimbabwe in 2194, and involves two trios of characters: the three children of General Matsika, the country’s Chief of Security, and the three detectives the General’s wife hires to find them when they disappear on their first outing outside of the family residence.  Harare is a dangerous place full of gangs (especially The Masks) and criminals who are all too eager to get their hands on the General’s children.  The General would never have agreed to let the children' venture out on their own, if he hadn’t been tricked during his morning session with the Mellower (somehow no one can ever quite remember what the Mellower says to them during the combination praise and storytelling sessions designed to make every feel relaxed and happy).  Of course, the children disappear, the General and his wife suddenly remember the Mellower asking for passes, and, in desperation, they turn to a detective agency operated by three mutants with special talents (caused by a nuclear accident that killed and maimed many people).  The book is full of legends and history based on Shona history.  There is a glossary at the back of the book with a combination of the made-up terminology in the book, and actual Shona, Zulu, and Afrikaans words.  There is also an appendix with info on some topics covered in the book.  Review by Stacy Church

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