The Ones That Disappeared
Winner of the NSW Premier's Literary Awards for Young People
Shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Young Adult fiction
A CBCA Notable Book
Shortlisted for the UK CrimeFest Award
Nominated for the Carnegie Medal
Nominated for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards
Kept by a ruthless gang, three children manage to escape from slavery. But freedom isn't just waiting on the outside.
Separated, scared and looking after a small child, Esra will do whatever she can to reunite with her friend Miran, who was captured by the police - the police who she mustn't trust.
Hiding in the shadows of the forest, Esra is found by a local boy, a boy with his own story. Together they will create a man out of mud. A man who will come to life and lead them through a dark labyrinth of tunnels until they finally have the courage the step above ground. Until they finally have the courage to speak their story. Until they finally have the courage to be free.
"(Zana's) writing is dense and poetic, exquisitely searing but ultimately sparing us from despair with perfectly tuned magic realism, vignettes of human goodness and hope.... Fraillon uses the powerful mode of story as a cry for us to raise our voices for change."
(Joy Lawn, The Australian Newspaper)
"Fraillon has written an excellent story delving into issues that other authors would fear to tread...Fraillon leads both children and adults on a riveting ride with an ending that inspires hope for the future...it is so compelling that I urge you to allow time to read in one sitting."
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
(Nalini Haynes, Dark Matter Zine)
"The power of this story is in Fraillon’s characters, the emotion in her words weaves the simplest of stories – escape and hope. Her writing is tender, fragile almost, as Esra, Isa and Miran strive to stay alive in captivity to escape and find their way home."
(CBCA Reading Time)
"My hope is that tens of thousands read The Ones that Disappeared and in doing so, a ground swell of action builds to fight for the millions lost to this very frightening, very real world."
(Kids Book Review)
"I adored the author’s previous novel, the hauntingly moving The Bone Sparrow, and this more than confirms her majestic writing skills...By turns harrowing, heart-wrenching, and magical, this is an incredibly powerful - and incredibly important - novel. "
"Skilfully told through three unique perspectives, the tale that Zana Fraillon weaves is harrowing and confronting, yet also poignant and thought provoking. Rich with symbolism and with a magical realism element threaded through the narrative arc, the work is much more than a study of the brutal world of human trafficking and child slavery. Rather, it is an ode to hope, the right to freedom and the resilience and resourcefulness of the human spirit. Motifs of the river, fox and white pigeon are particularly strong, as too is the exploration of the importance of story and the meaning of 'home'.
With prose that is lyrical, original and at times poetic, and with characters that leap from the page, the reader is lured into the disturbing world of these determined and fiercely loyal children and is rewarded with a story that is powerful and deeply affecting."
(Judges' Comments - Prime Minister's Literary Awards)
"It is an outstanding accomplishment to write characters so precisely that the reader is launched into an elusive world which seems timeless but in fact takes place in a contemporary setting. Details are captured using economical and succinct language, and the precision of metaphor and the transition between harsh reality and fantasy are seamless...It is a masterpiece of depicting children’s view of their imprisoned world and their acceptance of it. But more than this, Zana Fraillon has managed to control her story so that it is not only a tale of a search for peace and hope but manages, under her gifted storytelling, to become a song of coming home."
(Judges' Comments - NSW Premier's Literary Awards)
"The Ones That Disappeared is an unhurried but endlessly gripping tale, told with heart and affection, encompassing both light and shade...Fraillon’s book is never preachy or designed purely to shine a spotlight on slavery, it is first and foremost, a character study of freedom lost and rediscovered, of the unshakeable bonds of friendship that could only exist among children of these ages, and of the need for hope in the face of unimaginable horrors. The vivid portrait she paints of her child characters makes it almost feel like you are hearing the written testimonies of survivors.
The Ones That Disappeared is ultimately an uplifting read, filled with vivid characters whose voices often remain silent; it’s a quiet, emotionally devastating work unlikely to go unnoticed in the literary world."
"The Ones That Disappeared is like all those great, classic children’s adventure stories." Book of the Month.
(Dani Solomon, Readings Books)
"The Ones That Disappeared is one of those books packed with the power to make a difference to the world."
(Words on Paper)