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A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux
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A Time of Miracles

by Anne-Laure Bondoux

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English (7)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Vivid, moving refugee story. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Blaise Fortune has lived all his short life in the Caucasus, where he is called Koumail and lives with his beloved Gloria, the woman who cares for him. He loves to hear the story of how he came to be with Gloria: the train accident that separated him from his mother, how Gloria took him in and how one day he will go back to France to live. He and Gloria live in the Complex, hiding from the militia who have been waging war ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

When Blaise is about seven years old, the Complex is raided and he and Gloria set off on a long journey to the west, with France as their aim. Gloria has his passport as well as that of his mother, rescued from the train along with his infant self. They will get new photos, she says, and enter France as Jeanne and Blaise Fortune.

As they travel, they meet other refugees fleeing the madness of Eastern Europe and eventually get a ride to France in a pig truck. But when Blaise wakes up in the back of the truck, Gloria is gone and he is taken into custody by the authorities. Will they believe his story? Will they accept his passport? Will Blaise ever find his long-lost mother? And what happened to Gloria?

This is a moving story about what happens when lives are disrupted by war, the hardships refugees have to endure and a boy’s search for his true identity. Full of interesting characters and exotic locations, this book spans Europe from Georgia to the north coast of France. ( )
  FionaCat | Jun 1, 2012 |
Blaise Fortune has lived all his short life in the Caucasus, where he is called Koumail and lives with his beloved Gloria, the woman who cares for him. He loves to hear the story of how he came to be with Gloria: the train accident that separated him from his mother, how Gloria took him in and how one day he will go back to France to live. He and Gloria live in the Complex, hiding from the militia who have been waging war ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

When Blaise is about seven years old, the Complex is raided and he and Gloria set off on a long journey to the west, with France as their aim. Gloria has his passport as well as that of his mother, rescued from the train along with his infant self. They will get new photos, she says, and enter France as Jeanne and Blaise Fortune.

As they travel, they meet other refugees fleeing the madness of Eastern Europe and eventually get a ride to France in a pig truck. But when Blaise wakes up in the back of the truck, Gloria is gone and he is taken into custody by the authorities. Will they believe his story? Will they accept his passport? Will Blaise ever find his long-lost mother? And what happened to Gloria?

This is a moving story about what happens when lives are disrupted by war, the hardships refugees have to endure and a boy’s search for his true identity. Full of interesting characters and exotic locations, this book spans Europe from Georgia to the north coast of France.
Review by Ms. DuVall
  MHSLibrary | Jun 1, 2012 |
Glorious prose for a story that could become a modern classic. Worthy Batchelder award winner. A story of identity, and the power of stories to sustain the human spirit. It soars, read it. Very well suited to teaching Y7/Y8 in a multi-cultural setting. ( )
  celerydog | Jul 13, 2011 |
Reviewed by Cinnamon for TeensReadToo.com

Koumail knows exactly who he is: Blaise Fortune, indisputable and abandoned-through-a-train-accident French boy. Even as the seven-year-old flees the collapsing Soviet Union with Gloria, his beloved mother figure, Koumail knows that there will always be a safe haven for the faux mother-son duo in France.

It turns out to be a journey fraught with hard work and starvation, doubt and heartbreak. Through it all, Koumail merely has to recite one sentence - just one - to make sure he still has the strength to continue. "My name is Blaise Fortune and I am a citizen of the French Republic." It's the pure and simple truth. Or is it?

Wow, A TIME OF MIRACLES is a little 200+ page novel that packs quite a punch. Translated from French, this story is told as an extended flashback laced with intricate details and told in flowing prose. Originally, the synopsis failed to impress me, and I started this book with a feeling of dread, often reminding myself of the fact that I could simply write a scathing review to vent my feelings afterward. Well, I apologize profusely to this book. To put it simply: I was blown away.

This is just a simple story of a boy and a woman, escaping oppression and searching for freedom. And yet it was also emotional and gripping all at once. Ms. Bondoux definitely succeeded in drawing out this reader's sympathy for the two characters.

And Koumail, oh Koumail - funny, sweet, and fiercely protective of Gloria. It isn't possible for someone to not like this little boy. He entertains with his antics, his blind faith, and the three true loves he meets on their short journey. Even while Koumail's begging in front of a random restaurant in the icy coldness, he's still alight with hope.

A TIME OF MIRACLES is a surprisingly moving historical novel. It is one of those books you close with a quiet sigh. ( )
  GeniusJen | Jun 14, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385739222, Hardcover)

Blaise Fortune, also known as Koumaïl, loves hearing the story of how he came to live with Gloria in the Republic of Georgia: Gloria was picking peaches in her father’s orchard when she heard a train derail. After running to the site of the accident, she found an injured woman who asked Gloria to take her baby. The woman, Gloria claims, was French, and the baby was Blaise.
 
When Blaise turns seven years old, the Soviet Union collapses and Gloria decides that she and Blaise must flee the political troubles and civil unrest in Georgia. The two make their way westward on foot, heading toward France, where Gloria says they will find safe haven. But what exactly is the truth about Blaise’s past?
Bits and pieces are revealed as he and Gloria endure a five-year journey across the Caucasus and Europe, weathering hardships and welcoming unforgettable encounters with other refugees searching for a better life. During this time Blaise grows from a boy into an adolescent; but only later, as a young man, can he finally attempt to untangle his identity.
 
Bondoux’s heartbreaking tale of exile, sacrifice, hope, and survival is a story of ultimate love.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:09 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the early 1990s, a boy with a mysterious past and the woman who cares for him endure a five-year journey across the war-torn Caucasus and Europe, weathering hardships and welcoming unforgettable encounters with other refugees searching for a better life.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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