The Lost Soul Atlas
Shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards
Shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards
Longlisted for the Indie Book Awards
Nominated for the Carnegie Medal
The Big Issue Best Children's Books of 2020
One street-boy’s quest to reunite and make amends with his best friend told in an epic story that spans a city, a decade, and the divide of life and death itself. From the award-winning author of The Bone Sparrow.
A boy awakens in the Afterlife, with a pocketful of vague memories, a key, a raven, and a mysterious Atlas to guide him as he sets out to piece together the mystery of his final moments …
Meanwhile on Earth, Twig is alone as a newly-made street kid after his dad goes missing. But when he meets Flea, a cheerful pickpocket, the pair become fast friends, better even than blood family itself. Together, Twig and Flea raise themselves on the crime-ridden streets, taking what they need and giving the rest to the even-poorer. Life is good, as long as they have each other. But the all-powerful Boss who rules the streets has other plans.
Loyalty will be tested, and a cruel twist of fate will lead to an act of ultimate betrayal. But will it tear the friends apart … forever?
'The Lost Soul Atlas marks Zana Fraillon’s triumphant return to middle-grade…Fans of Wonder, Counting by 7s and the work of Katherine Rundell will find a lot to love in the pages of this truly wonderful book.'
(Books and Publishing)
'A wise and profound fable, beautifully told and deeply affecting.'
(Anthony McGowan – Carnegie Award Winning Author)
'A magnificent fable that straddles reality and the afterlife, Fraillon’s enigmatic work speaks to a tender relationship on the fringes of society...Lyrically written and full of memorable images, The Lost Soul Atlas is a tour de force of intelligent, emotionally resonant fiction.'
‘Every night as I finish 50 pages and close the book I say to myself this is the book I want to be reading when I die. Like the Egyptians I want to wake up in another life holding The Lost Soul Atlas to remember the amazingly talented, erudite, imaginative writer Zana Fraillon. I want to remember how ephemeral dreams and nightmares can be caught in gossamer fine words. I want to remember the vast timeline of literature from when the first songs were sung around fires lit by nomads, from when words and stories wandered the world with the troubadours, the entrancing word magic spun by Charles Dickens, Ursula le Guin, Isabelle Carmody and the poems that asylum seekers have brought to our shores - of how all this and more has informed the creation of this novel about loss and friendship; the power and cruelty of some, the kindness and courage of many; about family, adventures, love, ravens, journeys, riddles and smiles. For those who love the gothic this is the book. For those who love fables this is the book. For those who love tales that set your heart racing this is the book. For those who wish for phantasgormic dreams this is the book. For those who want to think endlessly about a story this is the book. For those who want to be enfolded within lyrical prose this is the book. Juvenile fiction it is not. YA fiction it is not. This is a book for each one of us.’
'This book is bigger than the sum of its parts. It is an extraordinary volume – the search for safety, love and truth. The story of children of the streets – a tale of a raven, a beautiful, characterful raven, meeples (who are a joy), a boy and his father and a girl too. A tale of the afterlife and memory hungry gods. Giant spiders with…bugles. There is Terry Pratchett within these covers – a book of dreams and hopes. Of homelessness too and yearning.
Fight the forgetting.'
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
(Waterstones, Bookseller Review)
'There is so much to love about this book I hardly know where to begin – from the clever use of humour (and some truly awful, so-bad-they’re-good jokes) to balance the darker side of things to Flea’s hilarious insults and Kkruk’s begrudging sidekick stance; from the use and imagery of the maps and stories (“because stories are the maps for how we can be”) to the riddles, magic and characters Twig meets on his quest; from the friendships and loyalties both strengthened and challenged to the energy and life of good times in spite of the bad; from the nod to Alice in Wonderland to the distinct feel of Pratchett, especially in the Gods, to the way folklore and family tales are threaded throughout… and so much more besides...Punchy, unflinching and refusing to look away from the very real and heartbreaking situation on our streets, it is also a funny and wonderfully immersive fantasy. A magical tale of friendship, loyalty, suffering and hope, this is a story which will speak straight to your heart and to your imagination.'
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
(Waterstones, Rachael at Altrincham)
'A rich and telling fantasy. The afterlife in The Lost Soul Atlas is honestly as full and robust as anything Philip Pullman has ever written...in Fraillon’s hands, it’s a work of art, perfectly balancing imagination and reality. Scary, sad and funny all at once, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
'Using a richness of language that both exhilarates and makes you cry. It is both timeless and ageless having a wide appeal. A powerful read I would highly recommend.'
'Fraillon takes issues that you’d think couldn’t be child-friendly and yet she imbues such relatability, hope and optimism in these stories that children love them. Stories like these help shape the next generation, the psyche of readers, so we become a less bigoted and less barrier-filled society...with its nostalgic undertones, pop culture references and contemporary-feeling setting, it’s an excellent read for adults too.'
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
(Dark Matter Zine)
'You will love the determination and humour of the characters, especially Twig and Flea. With the added layer of the puzzle of the Atlas of Lost Souls to solve as well, this is a wonderful, thoroughly enjoyable, adventurous fantasy story from Zana Fraillon, that will not disappoint her many fans.'
'This book is the perfect blend of fantasy and world hard hitting topics, wrapped up in a delightful tale...Set aside time to read this book because it is one that you don’t want to put down once you get started. The Lost Soul Atlas was bloody brilliant!
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
(Blue Fairy Tales Book Blog)
'Zana Fraillon uses an extraordinary adventure through fantastic scenes and terrains, to magnify issues that she loves to write about...A stunning and powerful novel full of hope.'
(Kids' Book Review)
'The mind-expanding tales and the form of the novel were challenging in all the right ways, making it an immensely intriguing, and ultimately satisfying, read. This is sophisticated reading.'
'A page-turning plot, a meticulously drawn environment, and a serious thoughtfulness that shows faith in its readers’ sensitivity....This is a big life and death tale with greedy gods, dreadful terrors and emotional awakenings. And an even bigger tale about a father and son. A touching, heartwarming read.'
(The Big Issue: Best Children's Books of 2020)