Elevate Difference

Beyond the Station Lies the Sea

Cosmos and Niner are homeless. Niner, who has been given this name because he is nine-years-old, was thrown out by a violent stepfather. After that, Niner used to sneak into his house at night to eat the dinner his mother left on the table for him. When his mother was taken away in an ambulance, the house was locked up and he couldn’t get in anymore. Cosmos, an adult, has been homeless for a long time, and has teamed up with Niner on the streets.

More than anything, Cosmos and Niner want to go to the seaside, where they can live without the worries that plague them in the city. But to do that they need money they do not have. Until, that is, they visit the bar called Caracas, where the Queen of Caracas offers to give them the money they need to go to the sea. All they have to do is sell her something extremely valuable. Of course, being homeless, Niner and Cosmos have nothing of value. They think they have nothing to sell her. Until Niner realizes he can sell his guardian angel.

Thus begins the short, young adult novel, Beyond the Station Lies the Sea. Originally written in German and translated into English by Anna Brailovsky, the story is at the same time wonderfully imaginative and deceptively simple. Spanning a scant eighty pages, it is filled with understated emotion and beautiful images while portraying the touching alliance between the vulnerable Niner and the older, streetwise Cosmos, who falters but manages to find his higher self through their relationship.

The author of more than twenty books for younger readers and a winner of numerous awards, in this novel Jutta Richter has created a deeply touching and captivating story. Likely enjoyed by children ages eight and older, it also has much to recommend it to discerning adults.

Written by: Elaine Beale, August 4th 2009

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