A parable for our times

activism and terrorism in Anne Fine’s survival quest, The Road of Bones

Yvonne Hammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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This paper examines representational issues that emerge when Anne Fine’s coming of age depiction of an extreme journey based on an historic period of social and political conflict is read as a parable about world politics. The Road of Bones explores, through an adolescent character’s struggle to survive State-led terrorism against its subjects, political process, societal upheaval, and the loss of human rights. But if Fine’s novel raises issues about political governance in ways that interrogate post 9/11 contemporary politics, the work also raises issues about cultural representation and global audiences when the compromised position of Fine’s heroic subject draws upon previously established East/West polarities that privilege a Western readership. In the concluding scenes the protagonist’s agentic response may be dually interpreted: is this response to be construed as activism or, more negatively, as a form of terrorism?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-222
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Research in Children's Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Anne Fine
  • utopia/dystopia
  • political change
  • terror
  • national stereotypes
  • soviet history
  • cultural representation

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