IQBAL: A Novel

Francesco D'Adamo, Author, Ann Leonori, Translator
Francesco D'Adamo, Author, Ann Leonori, Translator , trans. from the Italian by Ann Leonori. S&S/Atheneum $15.95 (120p) ISBN 978-0-689-85445-3
Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003

D'Adamo's brief book, his first published in the U.S., packs an emotional punch in a novel also inspired by the life and work of Masih. Narrator Fatima is a bonded servant in a carpet factory in Pakistan, where she and a dozen or so other children work from dawn until dusk with little food or water, handweaving carpets that make their "owner," Hussain Khan, wealthy. Into their factory steps young Iqbal. A stunning act of bravery nearly kills him but also plants a seed of rebellion in his fellow workers; another turn of events exposes just how corrupt and deeply ingrained the country's system is. D'Adamo's prose is straightforward, almost reportorial, but the author also carefully chooses hauntingly poetic images that reflect the children's plight: an open window too high for the children to view, and later, when hope begins to bloom, a kite. D'Adamo pays fitting respect to Iqbal's name and bravery with this eye-opening, genuinely touching novel. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)

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