Postcards from No Man's Land

Postcards from No Man's Land

4.1 14
by Aidan Chambers

View All Available Formats & Editions

Alternates between two stories--contemporarily, seventeen-year-old Jacob visits a daunting Amsterdam at the request of his English grandmother--and historically, nineteen-year-old Geertrui relates her experience of British soldiers's attempts to liberate Holland from its German occupation.  See more details below


Alternates between two stories--contemporarily, seventeen-year-old Jacob visits a daunting Amsterdam at the request of his English grandmother--and historically, nineteen-year-old Geertrui relates her experience of British soldiers's attempts to liberate Holland from its German occupation.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Winner of both the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award and Britain's Carnegie Medal, Aidan Chambers's sophisticated and rewarding Postcards from No Man's Land weaves together past and present, connecting the experiences of two Jacob Todds -- a deceased war hero and his teenage grandson -- across time and place.

Seventeen-year-old Jacob Todd goes to Amsterdam to honor the memory of his grandfather, a soldier who died in the WWII Battle of Arnhem. Shortly after arriving in the city, Jacob is robbed by a transvestite and forced to stay with the outspoken grandson of Geertrui, the woman who cared for Jacob's grandfather during the war. During his stay, Jacob comes to learn more about Amsterdam, his own sexuality, the history of WWII in the Netherlands, and the remarkable Geertrui, whose wartime experiences unfold in a compelling parallel story line.

As she lies dying of cancer, Geertrui discusses her life as a young woman during the Nazi occupation, including the tale of how she tended to -- and fell in love with -- Jacob's grandfather. But as the old woman prepares for her assisted suicide, she confesses a deep secret that brings their worlds closer than young Jacob ever could have imagined.

Chambers's novel is multilayered and thought-provoking, covering many difficult topics in its sophisticated, often surprising plot. The book is filled with contrasts and connections between Jacob's experiences in contemporary Amsterdam and the wartime history of Holland, and the author even uses the Dutch language and Amsterdam itself to link Jacob to the past and to his own self-discovery. A remarkable read for teens and young adults, this is one award winner that lives up to its hype. Matt Warner

Product Details

Bodley Head, The
Publication date:
Edition description:
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"Sophisticated teenage readers yearning for a wider view of life may find themselves intoxicated by this Carnegie Medal-winning novel." (Publishers Weekly, starred review.
"Moving and multilayered . . . this novel is beautifully written, emotionally touching, and intellectually challenging." (VOYA)

Meet the Author

Aidan Chambers is an author of novels and plays. Born in the north of England, he worked as a high school teacher for eleven years, during which time he was also a monk for seven years, before he left both teaching and the monastery to establish himself as a full-time author. He has written for many newspapers and journals as well as television and radio, and is well known as a writer and lecturer on the nature and value of reading and literature. In 1969 he and his American wife Nancy founded Thimble Press, which publishes books about children's literature and the magazine 'SIGNAL: Approaches to Children's Books', internationally recognized as one of the most important in its field. His books are published in many languages. Among other prizes, his novel Postcards From No Man's Land was honored with the Carnegie Medal, Britain's most prestigious recognition for children's and youth literature, and the Italian Andersen Award. He is also the recipient of The Children's Literature Association Award for excellence in literary criticism, and the British Eleanor Farjeon Award for outstanding services to children's books. He is currently writing the sixth and last of his youth novels which make a family Sequence, a body of work he describes on the BOOKS page of his Web site.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Postcards from No Man's Land 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read many books in my life time. This book was ok for my taste, which is war books. Although it was mainly to my opinion a love story, I still thought it was ok. It kept me interested enough to finish it and think about it. But, I do think if I read It again, I would like it a lot better. I definitely recommend this book who likes books with romance.
Daniel_Ahmad_Khan More than 1 year ago
This book independently tracks two people's story, one of a 19 year old Dutch girl named Geertrui during the German occupation of Holland in WWII. The other story is about a 17 year old British kid named Jacob who visits Holland to see the dying Geertrui when she is old several decades later. The beginning of his stay there is terrible but he soon starts to develop some character.The major theme in this book is "nothing ventured, nothing gained," or in other words, if you don't try something and expose yourself to danger, then you will not gain or get anything. Another theme in the book is exploring your true personality and what really matters to you, which is really shown in Jacob's story more than Geertrui's story. I liked the plot for the first 120 pages or so of the book. It interestingly alternates around a Dutch girl trying to stay alive during the German occupation and a young British boy having trouble in a foreign country. I also liked on the very idea of trading off between two seperate stories in one book. It kept me interested and I wasn't forced to have to read one story for a long period of time. However, I disliked practically the rest of the book. This is because I disliked the author's attempt to try to add romance into the book. What started out as an interesting survival book turned into a love story. Some people may have enjoyed this, but I had to force myself to finish the rest of the book. Authors love to add unneccessary romance into books, and it completly ruined a good novel for me. Someone who likes romance books should read this book, I guess they will enjoy it. However, people who are looking for an action or adventure book will be dissapointed here, because although it starts good, it gets dissapointing really fast. So, overall, I would give it a 3/5 because of the good start, but terrible ending.
Queen_Of_The_Cold More than 1 year ago
I own and have read an abundance of books, but this one stands out. It is not a great book by any means, but it was not that bad either. Maybe it is because I am not one who enjoys two era perspective books, but their stories were so different that it was hard to keep track of everything. The WW2 parts were excellent, but the modern day story line lacked a...entertaining quality. So, yes it was okay and strange, but I would not recommend to many people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book - the author does a great job of intertwining the two stories. I would just like to put forth the following caution to fellow parents looking for books for their kids: There is a discrepancy between the recommended age - on the B&N entry, it says ages 12 and up, but Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus Reviews recommend it for 14 and up or for older teenagers and adults. I bought this on line for my daughter's 13th birthday, based on the 12 and up recommendation, but when I got it and looked at it I decided against giving it. I ended up reading it myself (and thoroughly enjoyed it), but certainly felt glad that I hadn't given it to my daughter at this point in time, as I do feel the book is too explicit for young teens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tessa-Jones More than 1 year ago
I think that this is a very excillent book. Normally i would go for a fairy tale type of book but this one actually caught my eye and my mind told me to read it and it was amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book not really knowing what to expect. A book about an Englishman in Amsterdam, simultaneously playing out the story of a WWII romance. But in the end, I found myself to love this book. I was impressed by the author's ability to switch from one writing style to another, one point of view to another, and never lose the story in the process. I additionally enjoyed the characters very very much. I was able to relate to both the main character (Jacob) and the other point of view (Geertrui.) Overall, an excellent read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Postcards From No Man's Land' is simply one of those books you can't put down even if you tried. It just seems to captivate you with Chambers' words and story line. A heartfelt story that tugs at your heart strings. Beautiful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't even explain how great this book is... Magnificant!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing!The book's characters asked questions that every person should ask themselves one day. There were so many twist in turns in this book that i read very slowly at the end so i wouldn't have to finish it. It is just one of those books that you wish was long as a J.K. Rowling book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think the book Postcards from no man's land was a good book. One of the reasons it is a good book is because of the wierd things that happens in it. Anouther reason is it makes you think by switching from people to people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read over 300 books and I'm fifteen and i absolutely love it. Has so much within it's unbelievable. Mystery, double story line wrapping into one plot, major debates, and romance. Recommend to anyone who will listen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was an excellent read.I found it my looking at the cover. The author kept me interested by the way he put the story together.I would defiently recommend this book to any nad every one. Wonderful, writting structure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read a book a day and this book is by far the best book I've ever read. It includes everything you could ever want self discovery, suspense, romance, conterversy, and all in the same book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was quite unique, but very excellent. The stories, which seem at first parallel keep things interesting. The key to the excellence of the book is that we uncover the truth with Jacob instead of knowing the connections of the two stories all along. The characters are pretty straightforward, but still interesting. The author has a brilliant writing style, and often slips in great words of wisdom, which could stand by themselves as great quotes. The constant use of Dutch is at first a bit exasperating, but with a dutch-english dictionary, I'm sure it's not that bad.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the old city, Amsterdam, a story is told that intertwines the past and the present. The present story is of a young English teenager, Jacob Todd, visiting Holland to honor the battle of Amsterdam. Behind this is a story of the past of the Second World War and British soldiers fighting in a Dutch area. This story was of a loving relationship between a young Dutch girl and a wounded British soldier. Throughout the story, Aidan Chambers gives the reader a full taste of the Amsterdam life. He uses the cultures and customs to define the national characters of the English and the Dutch. The story was thoughtfully written with the events of the past growing an importance to Jacob in the future, showing the creativity of the story. It takes the reader on a memorable voyage of family secrets and discovery a man¿s self-identity to connect the past with the future.