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Nine Open Arms

Nine Open Arms by Benny Lindelauf
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At the end of the world, near the border with Germany, stands a house as long as nine open arms. Half hidden behind trees and shrubs rises a wide brick wall, topped with two attic windows, each no bigger than a dishcloth. The walls have been whitewashed and the wooden floor is bare, as if the house is waiting. Waiting for someone to move in.

It is the summer of 1937, and it hasn't rained for seven weeks when eleven-year-old Fing and her family of nine move into Nine Open Arms, along with their handcart of meagre belongings. 'The Dad' is a man who does all kinds of jobs and none of them well, while Oma Mei courageously holds everything together, including the family's history in her Crocodile bag full of pictures and stories. But as the year progresses, the family just gets poorer.

Meanwhile, Fing and her two sisters, wild Muulke and fearful Jess, begin to discover strange mysteries...a bed that looks like a tombstone, an unmarked grave in the cemetery...until at last the story of those who came before begins slowly to emerge. In the end, Fing learns that love and stories are her family's wealth.

Nine Open Arms is an exceptional imagined historical mystery - the story of a very special home, the eccentric families who have lived within it, and the unexpected ties that emerge between the two...

'Written with great warmth, love of life, and infectious humour.' (De Morgen - Flemish newspaper)

Translated by John Nieuwenhuizen.

Allen & Unwin; February 2014
272 pages; ISBN 9781743433416
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Nine Open Arms
Author: Benny Lindelauf; John Nieuwenhuizen
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