Author: Morris Gleitzman
First published January 1, 2011
209 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 9780670075447 (ISBN10: 0670075442)
In Morris Gleitzman’s fifth installment of Felix’s journey, we find him navigating the aftermath of World War Two. Having already lost so much, including his parents, Felix is faced with the daunting task of rebuilding his life amidst the rubble and devastation left in the wake of the war.
As he grapples with the complexities of healing and forgiveness, he finds solace in a new friendship. But with the scars of war still fresh, Felix must confront the possibility of losing yet another person he loves.
Will he find the strength to carry on and rebuild a life filled with hope?
About the Author
Morris started his writing journey as a screenwriter, but it wasn’t until 1985 when he wrote his first children’s novel. His unique and hilarious style has made him a beloved author amongst both kids and adults, and he’s one of Australia’s most successful writers, worldwide and domestically.
Born in England in 1953, Morris moved to Australia in 1969 to become a famous writer and escape the perils of school.
Before he became a writer, Morris had a colorful career, which included being a paperboy, a shelf-stacker at a bottle shop, a department store Santa Claus, a frozen chicken defroster, a fashion-design assistant, and a sugar-mill employee. He also attained a degree in Professional Writing from the Canberra College of Advanced Education.
Morris became the sole writer for three award-winning seasons of the TV comedy series The Norman Gunston Show.
In addition to that, Morris also wrote screenplays for feature films and telemovies, including The Other Facts of Life and Second Childhood, both of which were produced by The Australian Children’s Television Foundation. The Other Facts of Life won an AWGIE Award for the Best Original Children’s Film Script.
Morris wrote live stage material for Rolf Harris, Pamela Stephenson, and the Governor General of Australia. For nine years, Morris wrote semi-autobiographical columns in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald magazine, Good Weekend, which many people know him from.
However, Morris is best known for his children’s books. Two Weeks with the Queen is one of his most successful books for young people, and it is an international bestseller that was also adapted into a play by Mary Morris.
The play had numerous successful seasons in Australia and other countries such as the UK, South Africa, Canada, Japan, and the USA.
All of Morris’ other books have either won numerous children’s book prizes or have been shortlisted for them. His books have been published in several countries, including the UK, the USA, Germany, Italy, Japan, France, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Indonesia, Czechoslovakia, Russia, and China.
Morris has written many books, including Pizza Cake, Too Small To Fail, Now, Grace, Toad Surprise, Then, Give Peas A Chance, Doubting Thomas, Aristotle’s Nostril, Once, Worm Story, Girl Underground, Toad Away, Teacher’s Pet, Boy Overboard, Toad Heaven, Adults Only, Wicked!, and Deadly!, two six-part novels written in collaboration with Paul Jennings.
Morris Gleitzman’s historical fiction novel, After, takes readers on a heart-wrenching journey through the eyes of a young Jewish boy, Felix, as he navigates the aftermath of World War II in Poland. Gleitzman, a bestselling Australian author, is known for his ability to tackle heavy subject matter with sensitivity and thoughtfulness, and After is no exception.
The novel opens with Felix emerging from a hiding spot in the woods to find his parents brutally murdered by Nazis. Determined to avenge their deaths, he sets out on a treacherous journey to find his only remaining family: his older siblings.
Along the way, he encounters a cast of complex, fully-realized characters who serve as both obstacles and allies in his quest. Gleitzman’s prose is spare and poignant, conveying the depths of Felix’s sorrow without ever veering into melodrama.
His descriptions of the Polish countryside and the war-torn cities Felix passes through are vivid and evocative, painting a picture of devastation that is both heartbreaking and necessary. There are no easy answers or quick fixes in After; instead, Gleitzman grapples with the messy, complicated aftermath of genocide and the long road to rebuilding shattered lives.
One of the strengths of After is its portrayal of the diverse array of people affected by the war. Gleitzman introduces readers to characters of different social classes and religions, each with their own unique perspectives and struggles.
This complexity adds depth to the novel and serves as a reminder that the Holocaust did not just affect Jews, but was a global tragedy that forever altered the course of history. At its core, After is a story of resilience and hope in the face of unimaginable loss.
Despite the staggering odds against him, Felix remains determined to find his siblings and rebuild their shattered lives. His unwavering spirit serves as a beacon of light throughout the novel, a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope.
If there is one limitation to After, it is the occasionally slow pace of the plot. Gleitzman takes his time unfolding the story, a deliberate choice that allows for deeper character development but may frustrate readers looking for more action-packed scenes.
However, this is a minor quibble in an otherwise masterful work of fiction. Overall, After is a poignant and deeply affecting novel that holds up a mirror to one of the darkest periods in human history.
It is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the full complexity of the Holocaust and its aftermath. With its beautifully crafted prose and fully-realized characters, After is a true gem of historical fiction.