Contains both Meeting Cezanne and Half a Man
When Yannick learns that he is to stay with his Aunt Mathilde in the South of France, he cannot believe his luck. If the paintings of his mother’s beloved Cezanne are to be believed, surely Provence is paradise itself. So begins an idyllic month for the young boy: roaming the gentle hills and rolling valleys of Aix-en-Provence; daydreaming about his beautiful cousin Amandine; helping in his aunt and uncle's bustling village inn; feeling that he has come to the most wonderful place in the world. Then the idyll is spoilt when an important local comes for dinner and Yannick accidentally destroys a precious drawing the man leaves behind. Yannick is devastated by what he has done, and resolves to put things right. But in so doing he makes a surprising discovery…
Former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo remembers the post-war Britain of his childhood in this unflinching and deeply poignant tale of the physical and mental scars of war. From a young age, Michael is both fascinated by and afraid of his grandfather. Grandpa’s ship was torpedoed during the Second World War, leaving him with terrible burns. Every time he comes to stay, Michael is warned by his mother that he must not stare, he must not make too much noise, he must not ask Grandpa any questions about his past. As he grows older, Michael stays with his grandfather during the summer holidays, and as he finally learns the story behind his injuries, he gets to know the real man behind the solemn figure from his childhood. Michael begins to see beyond the burns, and this gives him the power to begin healing some of the scars that have divided his family for so long.
One of 1000 copies printed for the Hay Festival in 2005.
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