Set during World War II, The Search follows the story of Jan – a nine-year-old boy from a village in Czechoslovakia – whose family is fractured by Hitler’s march across Europe. Told in the third person, present tense, the immediacy of the language transports us straight into the world of a terrified child, who sees his father murdered by German troops, is then forcibly separated from his mother and older sister, and watches helplessly as his baby sister is adopted by a German family. Determined to find her and reunite his family, he sets off on an incredible journey.
Myant’s spellbinding and historically accurate narrative demonstrates the futility of war, the true casualties of conflict and the grass roots struggles of all those caught up in the Nazi regime. Her skill lies in her ability to write utterly convincingly from an innocent child’s perspective (a popular technique this summer – see Room), producing a tale that is simultaneously poignant and tragic, yet with the ever present optimism of youth, which never allows hope to die. Completely unputdownable.